Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The vital principle or animating force within living beings.
  • n. Incorporeal consciousness.
  • n. The soul, considered as departing from the body of a person at death.
  • n. The Holy Spirit.
  • n. A supernatural being, as:
  • n. An angel or a demon.
  • n. A being inhabiting or embodying a particular place, object, or natural phenomenon.
  • n. A fairy or sprite.
  • n. The part of a human associated with the mind, will, and feelings: Though unable to join us today, they are with us in spirit.
  • n. The essential nature of a person or group.
  • n. A person as characterized by a stated quality: He is a proud spirit.
  • n. An inclination or tendency of a specified kind: Her actions show a generous spirit.
  • n. A causative, activating, or essential principle: The couple's engagement was announced in a joyous spirit.
  • n. A mood or an emotional state: The guests were in high spirits. His sour spirits put a damper on the gathering.
  • n. A particular mood or an emotional state characterized by vigor and animation: sang with spirit.
  • n. Strong loyalty or dedication: team spirit.
  • n. The predominant mood of an occasion or a period: "The spirit of 1776 is not dead” ( Thomas Jefferson).
  • n. The actual though unstated sense or significance of something: the spirit of the law.
  • n. An alcohol solution of an essential or volatile substance. Often used in the plural with a singular verb.
  • n. An alcoholic beverage, especially distilled liquor.
  • transitive v. To carry off mysteriously or secretly: The documents had been spirited away.
  • transitive v. To impart courage, animation, or determination to; inspirit.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The undying essence of a human. The soul.
  • n. A supernatural being, often but not exclusively without physical form; ghost, fairy, angel.
  • n. enthusiasm
  • n. The manner or style of something.
  • n. A volatile liquid, such as alcohol. The plural form spirits is a generic term for distilled alcoholic beverages.
  • n. Energy.
  • v. To carry off, especially in haste, secrecy, or mystery.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Air set in motion by breathing; breath; hence, sometimes, life itself.
  • n. A rough breathing; an aspirate, as the letter h; also, a mark to denote aspiration; a breathing.
  • n. Life, or living substance, considered independently of corporeal existence; an intelligence conceived of apart from any physical organization or embodiment; vital essence, force, or energy, as distinct from matter.
  • n. The intelligent, immaterial and immortal part of man; the soul, in distinction from the body in which it resides; the agent or subject of vital and spiritual functions, whether spiritual or material.
  • n. Specifically, a disembodied soul; the human soul after it has left the body.
  • n. Any supernatural being, good or bad; an apparition; a specter; a ghost; also, sometimes, a sprite,; a fairy; an elf.
  • n. Energy, vivacity, ardor, enthusiasm, courage, etc.
  • n. One who is vivacious or lively; one who evinces great activity or peculiar characteristics of mind or temper.
  • n. Temper or disposition of mind; mental condition or disposition; intellectual or moral state; -- often in the plural.
  • n. Intent; real meaning; -- opposed to the letter, or to formal statement; also, characteristic quality, especially such as is derived from the individual genius or the personal character.
  • n. Tenuous, volatile, airy, or vapory substance, possessed of active qualities.
  • n. Any liquid produced by distillation; especially, alcohol, the spirits, or spirit, of wine (it having been first distilled from wine): -- often in the plural.
  • n. Rum, whisky, brandy, gin, and other distilled liquors having much alcohol, in distinction from wine and malt liquors.
  • n. A solution in alcohol of a volatile principle. Cf. Tincture.
  • n. Any one of the four substances, sulphur, sal ammoniac, quicksilver, or arsenic (or, according to some, orpiment).
  • n. Stannic chloride. See under Stannic.
  • transitive v. To animate with vigor; to excite; to encourage; to inspirit; ; -- sometimes followed by up.
  • transitive v. To convey rapidly and secretly, or mysteriously, as if by the agency of a spirit; to kidnap; -- often with away, or off.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. According to old and primitive modes of thought, an invisible corporeal thing of an airy nature, scarcely material, the principle of life, mediating between soul and body.
  • n. The principle of life conceived as a fragment of the divine essence breathed into man by God.
  • n. Metaphorically, animation; vivacity; exuberance of life; cheerfulness; courage; mettle; temper; humor; mood: usually in the plural.
  • n. A peculiar animating and inspiring principle; dominant influence; genius; that which pervades and tempers the conduct and thought of men, either singly or (especially) in bodies, and characterizes them or their works.
  • n. The essence, real meaning, or intent of any statement, command, or contract: opposed to letter.
  • n. Incorporeal, immaterial being or principle; personality, or a personality, unconnected or only associated with a body: in Biblical use applied to God, and specifically to the third person of the Trinity (the Holy Spirit); also to supernatural good and evil beings (angels).
  • n. A person considered with respect to his peculiar characteristics of mind or temper, especially as shown in action; a man of life, fire, energy, enterprise, courage, or the like, who influences or dominates: as, the leading spirits of the movement were arrested.
  • n. A disembodied soul, or a soul naturally destitute of an ordinary solid body; an apparition of such a being; a specter; a ghost.
  • n. A supernatural being; an angel, fairy, elf, sprite, demon, or the like.
  • n. A subtle fluid contained in a particular substance, and conferring upon it its peculiar properties.
  • n. In old chemistry, a liquor obtained by distillation; often in the plural.
  • n. A strong alcoholic liquor; in a restricted sense, such a liquor variously treated in the process of distillation, and used as a beverage or medicinally, as brandy, whisky, and gin; in the plural, any strong distilled liquor.
  • n. A solution of tin in an acid, used in dyeing.
  • n. An aspirate; a breathing, as the letter h.
  • n. The essence or active principle of anything.
  • n. In mod. German philos., the highest mode of existence; also, anything possessing such existence.
  • n. By inspiration; by or under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
  • n. Synonyms Life, Liveliness, etc. (see animation), force, resolution.
  • n. 4. Drift, gist, sense, significance, nature.
  • n. Soul, Intellect, etc. (see mind); inner self, vital essence.
  • To animate; inspire; inspirit; excite; encourage; enliven; cheer: sometimes with up.
  • To convey away rapidly and secretly, as if by the agency of a spirit; kidnap: generally with off, away, or other adverb of direction.
  • To treat with spirits.
  • n. One of an officially recognized class of pharmaceutical preparations, formerly made by distilling with alcohol a crude drug containing some volatile and medicinally useful ingredient, but now frequently by direct solution in alcohol of this ingredient, such as a volatile oil or essence, previously obtained in separate form. Spirit of cinnamon is an example.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a fundamental emotional and activating principle determining one's character
  • n. the state of a person's emotions (especially with regard to pleasure or dejection)
  • n. animation and energy in action or expression
  • n. an inclination or tendency of a certain kind
  • n. the vital principle or animating force within living things
  • n. any incorporeal supernatural being that can become visible (or audible) to human beings
  • v. infuse with spirit
  • n. the general atmosphere of a place or situation and the effect that it has on people
  • n. the intended meaning of a communication

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French espirit, from Latin spīritus, breath, from spīrāre, to breathe.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English spirit, from Old French espirit ("spirit"), from Latin spīritus ("breath; spirit"), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)peys- (“to blow, breathe”). Compare inspire, respire, transpire, all ultimately from Latin spīrō ("I breathe, blow, respire"). Cognate with Old English fisting ("(silent) breaking of wind"). Displaced native Middle English gast ("spirit") (from Old English gāst ("breath, soul, spirit")). More at fist. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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