spiritual

[spir-i-choo-uh l]
adjective
  1. of, relating to, or consisting of spirit; incorporeal.
  2. of or relating to the spirit or soul, as distinguished from the physical nature: a spiritual approach to life.
  3. closely akin in interests, attitude, outlook, etc.: the professor's spiritual heir in linguistics.
  4. of or relating to spirits or to spiritualists; supernatural or spiritualistic.
  5. characterized by or suggesting predominance of the spirit; ethereal or delicately refined: She is more of a spiritual type than her rowdy brother.
  6. of or relating to the spirit as the seat of the moral or religious nature.
  7. of or relating to sacred things or matters; religious; devotional; sacred.
  8. of or belonging to the church; ecclesiastical: lords spiritual and temporal.
  9. of or relating to the mind or intellect.
noun
  1. a spiritual or religious song: authentic folk spirituals.
  2. spirituals, affairs of the church.
  3. a spiritual thing or matter.

Origin of spiritual

1275–1325; Middle English < Medieval Latin spīrituālis, equivalent to Latin spīritu- (stem of spīritus spirit) + -ālis -al1
Related formsspir·it·u·al·ly, adverbspir·it·u·al·ness, nounan·ti·spir·it·u·al, adjectivean·ti·spir·it·u·al·ly, adverbnon·spir·it·u·al, adjective, nounnon·spir·it·u·al·ly, adverbnon·spir·it·u·al·ness, nounpseu·do·spir·i·tu·al, adjectivepseu·do·spir·i·tu·al·ly, adverbqua·si-spir·it·u·al, adjectivequa·si-spir·it·u·al·ly, adverbsu·per·spir·it·u·al, adjectivesu·per·spir·it·u·al·ly, adverbun·spir·i·tu·al, adjectiveun·spir·i·tu·al·ly, adverb
Can be confusedspirited spiritual spiritualistic
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for spirituals

Historical Examples of spirituals


British Dictionary definitions for spirituals

spiritual

adjective
  1. relating to the spirit or soul and not to physical nature or matter; intangible
  2. of, relating to, or characteristic of sacred things, the Church, religion, etc
  3. standing in a relationship based on communication between the souls or minds of the persons involveda spiritual father
  4. having a mind or emotions of a high and delicately refined quality
noun
  1. See Negro spiritual
  2. (often plural) the sphere of religious, spiritual, or ecclesiastical matters, or such matters in themselves
  3. the spiritual the realm of spirits
Derived Formsspiritually, adverbspiritualness, noun
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 spirituals

spiritual

adj.

"of or concerning the spirit" (especially in religious aspects), c.1300, from Old French spirituel (12c.), from Latin spiritualis, from spiritus "of breathing, of the spirit" (see spirit (n.)). Meaning "of or concerning the church" is attested from mid-14c. The noun sense of "African-American religious song" first recorded 1866.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

spirituals in Culture

spirituals

Religious songs of African-Americans, often written with freer rhythms and harmonies than most standard hymns. Spirituals, many of which go back to the days of slavery, often speak of biblical models of deliverance, like the Exodus. Some well-known spirituals are “Gonna Lay Down My Burden,” “Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho,” “Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen,” “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” and “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

spirituals

A kind of religious song originated by African-Americans. Spirituals are often written with freer rhythms and harmonies than most standard hymns. Many of them go back to the days of slavery, and they often speak of biblical models of deliverance, such as the Exodus. Several spirituals have become standard pieces of music for concert singers and choruses. “Gonna Lay Down My Burden,” “Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho,” “Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen,” “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” and “When the Saints Go Marching In” are spirituals.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.