[spir-i-choo-uh-liz-uh m]


the belief or doctrine that the spirits of the dead, surviving after the mortal life, can and do communicate with the living, especially through a person (a medium) particularly susceptible to their influence.
the practices or phenomena associated with this belief.
the belief that all reality is spiritual.
Metaphysics. any of various doctrines maintaining that the ultimate reality is spirit or mind.
spiritual quality or tendency.
insistence on the spiritual side of things, as in philosophy or religion.

Origin of spiritualism

First recorded in 1825–35; spiritual + -ism
Related formsspir·it·u·al·is·tic, adjectivespir·it·u·al·is·ti·cal·ly, adverban·ti·spir·it·u·al·ism, nounan·ti·spir·it·u·al·is·tic, adjective
Can be confusedspirited spiritual spiritualistic
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for spiritualism



the belief that the disembodied spirits of the dead, surviving in another world, can communicate with the living in this world, esp through mediums
the doctrines and practices associated with this belief
philosophy the belief that because reality is to some extent immaterial it is therefore spiritual
any doctrine (in philosophy, religion, etc) that prefers the spiritual to the material
the condition or quality of being spiritual
Derived Formsspiritualist, nounspiritualistic, adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for spiritualism

1796, "advocacy of a spiritual view," from spiritual + -ism. Table-rapping sense is from 1853.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper