AskDefine | Define spirit

Dictionary Definition



1 the vital principle or animating force within living things
2 the general atmosphere of a place or situation and the effect that it has on people; "the feel of the city excited him"; "a clergyman improved the tone of the meeting"; "it had the smell of treason" [syn: tone, feel, feeling, flavor, flavour, look, smell]
3 a fundamental emotional and activating principle determining one's character
4 any incorporeal supernatural being that can become visible (or audible) to human beings [syn: disembodied spirit]
5 the state of a person's emotions (especially with regard to pleasure or dejection); "his emotional state depended on her opinion"; "he was in good spirits"; "his spirit rose" [syn: emotional state]
6 the intended meaning of a communication [syn: intent, purport]
7 animation and energy in action or expression; "it was a heavy play and the actors tried in vain to give life to it" [syn: liveliness, life, sprightliness]
8 an inclination or tendency of a certain kind; "he had a change of heart" [syn: heart] v : infuse with spirit; "The company spirited him up" [syn: spirit up, inspirit]

User Contributed Dictionary



spiritus, ultimately meaning breath, wind (cf. inspire, respire, transpire), from spirare, breathe


  • /ˈspɪɹɪt/
  • Rhymes with: -ɪrɪt
  • Hyphenation: spir·it


  1. The undying essence of a human. The soul.
  2. A supernatural being, often but not exclusively without physical form; ghost, fairy, angel.
  3. enthusiasm
    School spirit is at an all-time high.
  4. The manner or style of something.
    In the spirit of forgiveness, we didn't press charges.
  5. italbrac usually plural A volatile liquid, such as alcohol. The plural form spirits is a generic term for all alcoholic beverages.


the soul of a person or other living being
  • Arabic: m|f
  • Aramaic:
    Syriac: ܪܘܚܐ (rūħā, rūħo)
    Hebrew: רוחא (rūħā, rūħo)
  • Czech: duch
  • Danish: ånd, sjæl g Danish
  • Dutch: geest
  • Estonian: hing
  • Finnish: henki
  • French: élan
  • German: Geist, Seele
  • Greek: πνεύμα, ψυχή
  • Hebrew: רוח (ruaħ) m|f
  • Italian: spirito
  • Japanese: 精神 (せいしん, seishin)
  • Korean: (neogs, neok), (eor, -l), 정신 (精神, jeongsin)
  • Latin: spiritus
  • Maori: wairua
  • Old English: hyge
  • Polish: dusza
  • Portuguese: espírito
  • Romanian: suflet
  • Russian: душа
  • Scottish Gaelic: anam , aigne , spiorad
  • Serbian: duh
  • Slovak: duch
  • Slovene: duša
  • Spanish: espíritu
  • Swedish: ande
a supernatural being
  • Arabic: m|f
  • Aramaic:
    Syriac: ܪܘܚܐ (rūħā, rūħo)
    Hebrew: רוחא (rūħā, rūħo)
  • Czech: duch
  • Danish: ånd g Danish
  • Dutch: geest
  • Estonian: vaim
  • Finnish: henki, haamu
  • German: Geist, Seele
  • Greek: πνεύμα
  • Hebrew: רוח (ruaħ) m|f
  • Italian: spirito
  • Japanese: 妖怪 (yōkai)
  • Korean: 귀신 (鬼神, gwisin), (obsolete) 굿것 (gusgeos, gutgeot)
  • Latin: genius, spiritus
  • Polish: duch
  • Portuguese: espírito
  • Romanian: duh
  • Russian: привидение
  • Scottish Gaelic: taibhse , spiorad , tannasg
  • Serbian: duh
  • Slovak: duch
  • Slovene: duh
  • Spanish: espíritu
  • Swedish: ande
manner or style
  • Czech: duch
  • Danish: ånd g Danish
  • Finnish: henki, tapa
  • French: élan
  • Greek: πνεύμα
  • Italian: spirito
  • Polish: duch
  • Romanian: spirit
  • Serbian: duh
  • Slovak: duch
  • Slovene: duh
  • Swedish: anda
  • Danish: spiritus, sprit, alkohol g Danish
  • Estonian: piiritus
  • Finnish: alkoholi, sprii, viina
  • Greek: οινοπνευματώδες ποτό, p οινοπνευματώδη, σπίρτο
  • Hungarian: alkohol, szeszes ital
  • Italian: spirito
  • Korean: 주정 (酒精, jujeong), 알코올 (alkool)
  • Polish: alkohol, spirytus
  • Portuguese: álcool
  • Romanian: tărie
  • Russian: алкоголь (alkogól’)
  • Serbian: alkohol
  • Slovene: špirit
  • Spanish: alcohol
  • Swedish: sprit, alkohol

See also





See also

Extensive Definition

The English word "spirit" comes from the Latin "spiritus" (breath).


The English word "spirit" comes from the Latin spiritus, meaning "breath" (compare spiritus asper), but also "soul, courage, vigor", ultimately from a PIE root *(s)peis- (to blow). In the Vulgate, the Latin word translates Greek (πνευμα), pneuma (Hebrew (רוח) ruah), as opposed to anima, translating psykhē. The word was loaned into Middle English via Old French The distinction between soul and spirit became current in Judeo-Christian terminology (e.g. Greek. psykhe vs. pneuma, Latin anima vs. spiritus, Hebrew ruach vs. neshama or nephesh; in Hebrew neshama from the root NSHM or breath.)

Metaphysical and metaphorical uses

The word is used in two related contexts, one metaphysical and the other metaphorical.
Its metaphysical context has attained a number of meanings:
  1. An incorporeal but ubiquitous, non-quantifiable substance or energy present individually in all living things. Unlike the concept of souls, which are by definition eternal and usually believed to preexist the body, a spirit develops and grows as an integral aspect of the living being. This concept of the individual spirit is common among traditional peoples. It is therefore important to note the distinction between this concept of spirit and that of the pre-existing or eternal soul because belief in souls is specific and far less common, particularly in traditional societies. This is more properly termed life ("bios" in Greek) ether than spirit ("pneuma" in Greek.)
  2. A daemon sprite, or especially ghost. A ghost is usually conceived as a wandering spirit from a being no longer living, having survived the death of the body yet maintaining the mind and consciousness.
  3. In religion and spirituality, the respiration of the human being has for obvious reasons been strongly linked with the very occurrence of life. A similar significance has been attributed to human blood. Spirit in this sense denotes that which separates a living body from a corpse and usually implies intelligence, consciousness and sentience.
  4. Spirits are often visualized as being interconnected to all others and The Spirit (singular capitalized) refers to the theories of a unified spirituality, universal consciousness and some concepts of Deity. All "spirits" connected, form a greater unity, the Spirit, which has both an identity separate from its elements plus a consciousness and intellect greater than its elements; an ultimate, unified, non-dual awareness or force of life combining or transcending all individual units of consciousness. The experience of such a connection can be a primary basis for spiritual belief. The term spirit has been used in this sense by at least Anthroposophy, Aurobindo, A Course In Miracles, Hegel, and Ken Wilber. In this use, the term is conceptually identical to Plotinus's "One" and Friedrich Schelling's "Absolute." Similarly, according to the pan(en)theistic aspect, Spirit is the essence that can manifest itself as mind/soul through any level in pantheistic hierarchy/holarchy, such as a mind/soul of a single cell (with very primitive, elemental consciousness), or a human or animal mind/soul (with consciousness on a level of organic synergy of an individual human/animal), or a (superior) mind/soul with synergetically extremely complex/sophisticated consciousness of whole galaxies involving all sub-levels, all emanating (since it is non-dimensional, or trans-dimensional) from the one Spirit.
  5. In Christian theology, the Spirit is also used to describe God, or aspects thereof as in Holy Spirit, referring to a Triune God (Trinity): "The result of God reaching to man by the Father as the source, the Son as the course ("the Way"), and through the Spirit as the transmission."
  6. Also in (popular) theological terms, the individual human "spirit" (singular lowercase) is a deeply situated aspect of the soul subject to "spiritual" growth and change; the very seat of emotion and desire, and the transmitting organ by which human beings can contact God. In a rare theological definition it is higher consciousness enclosing the soul. It is a central concept of Pneumatology (in context of the latter definition note that this science studies "pneuma;" Greek for "spirit," not "psyche;" Greek for "soul" studied in psychology.
  7. In Christian Science, Spirit is one of the seven synonyms for God. These are: "Principle; Mind; Soul; Spirit; Life; Truth; Love" (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, p. 587).
  8. In Harmonism, spirit is a term reserved for those which collectively control and influence an individual from the realm of the mind.
The metaphorical use of the term likewise has several related meanings:
  1. The loyalty and feeling of inclusion in the social history or collective essence of an institution or group, such as in school spirit or esprit de corps
  2. A closely related meaning refers to the worldview of a person, place, or time, as in "The Declaration of Independence was written in the spirit of John Locke and his notions of liberty", or the term zeitgeist, meaning "spirit of the age".
  3. As a synonym for 'vivacity' as in "She performed the piece with spirit." or "She put up a spirited defense."
  4. The underlying intention of a text as distinguished from its literal meaning, especially in law; see Letter and spirit of the law
  5. As a term for alcoholic beverages stemming from medieval superstitions that explained the effects of alcohol as demonic activity.
  6. In Mysticism, as existence in unity with Godhead. Soul may also be known as spirit, but soul is certain individual human consciousness, while spirit comes from beyond that.
See soul and ghost for related discussions.

Related concepts in other languages

Similar concepts in other languages include Greek Pneuma and Sanskrit akasha/atman, see also Prana. In some languages, the word for spirit is often closely related, if not synonymous to mind. Examples include the German, 'Geist' (related to the English word ghost) or the French, 'l'esprit'. In the Judaeochristian Bible, the word "ruach" (רוח; "wind") is most commonly translated as the spirit, whose essence is divine (see Holy Spirit). Alternately the word nephesh is commonly used. Nephesh, as referred to by Kabbalists, is one of the five parts of the Jewish soul, where "nephesh" (animal) refers to the physical being and its animal instincts. Similarly, both the Scandinavian languages and the Chinese language uses the term "breath" to refer to the spirit.
spirit in Catalan: Esperit
spirit in German: Geist
spirit in Estonian: Hing
spirit in Spanish: Espíritu
spirit in Korean: 정신
spirit in Dutch: Geest
spirit in Japanese: 精神
spirit in Norwegian: Ånd
spirit in Polish: Duch (filozofia)
spirit in Portuguese: Espírito
spirit in Russian: Дух (мифология)
spirit in Albanian: Shpirti
spirit in Simple English: Spirit
spirit in Finnish: Henki
spirit in Swedish: ande
spirit in Ukrainian: Дух
spirit in Chinese: 靈

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Geist, Masan, Muse, abandon, abduce, abduct, activity, adventuresomeness, adventurousness, affective meaning, afflatus, aggression, aggressiveness, aim, air, airy nothing, alacrity, alcohol, ambitiousness, anima, anima humana, animal spirits, animate, animating force, animation, animus, anxiety, anxiousness, apparition, appearance, appetite, aqua vitae, ardency, ardor, astral, astral body, astral spirit, atman, atmosphere, attitude, atua, aura, avidity, avidness, axiom, ba, backbone, banshee, baring, bathmism, beating heart, being, bent, biological clock, biorhythm, blood, body-build, bones, booze, bosom, bottom, brand, bravery, breast, breath, breath of life, breathless impatience, breeziness, brio, briskness, bubble, bubbliness, buddhi, capersomeness, carry away, carry off, cast, center, center of life, character, characteristic, characteristics, cheer, cheerful readiness, chutzpah, climate, coloring, coltishness, commitment, committedness, complexion, composition, concentrate, concentration, connotation, consciousness, consequence, constituents, constitution, control, core, courage, crasis, creative thought, creativity, crimp, cue, daemon, daimonion, daring, dash, dauntlessness, decoction, dedication, demon, denotation, departed spirit, desire, devotedness, devotion, devoutness, dharma, diathesis, disembodied spirit, disposition, distillate, distillation, divine afflatus, divine breath, divine spark, drift, drink, drive, duppy, dybbuk, dynamism, eagerness, earnestness, ebullience, ecstasy, effect, effervescence, ego, eidolon, elan, elan vital, elixir, embue, energy, enliven, enterprise, enterprisingness, enthusiasm, esoteric reality, esprit, esprit de corps, essence, essence of life, essential, ether, ethos, evil spirits, excitement, exhilarate, extension, extract, extraction, exuberance, fabric, faith, faithfulness, feel, feeling, feelings, fervency, fervidness, fervor, fiber, fidelity, fire, fire of genius, firewater, flower, focus, force, force of life, forcefulness, form, forwardness, frame, frame of mind, friskiness, frolicsomeness, fundamental, furor, fury, gaiety, gameness, gamesomeness, gayness, genius, get-up-and-get, get-up-and-go, getup, ghost, gimp, ginger, gist, glow, go, go-ahead, go-getting, go-to-itiveness, grain, grammatical meaning, grateful dead, gravamen, grit, grog, gross body, growth force, guide, gumption, gust, gusto, guts, gutsiness, guttiness, habit, hant, haunt, heart, heart of hearts, heart of oak, heartbeat, heartblood, heartiness, heartstrings, heat, heatedness, hold for ransom, hooch, hue, humor, humors, hustle, hypostasis, idea, idolum, ilk, illusion, imbue, immateriality, impact, impassionedness, impatience, impetuosity, impetus, implication, import, impress, impulse, impulse of life, inclination, incorporeal, incorporeal being, incorporeity, infect, inform, infuse, infusion, initiative, inject, inmost heart, inmost soul, inner essence, inner man, inner nature, innermost being, inoculate, inside, inspiration, inspire, inspirit, inspiriting force, intelligence, intension, intensity, intent, intention, intentness, intestinal fortitude, jiva, jivatma, joie de vivre, juice, kama, keen desire, keenness, kernel, khu, kidnap, kind, larva, lemures, lexical meaning, life, life breath, life cycle, life essence, life force, life principle, life process, lifeblood, linga sharira, liquor, literal meaning, liveliness, living force, loyalty, lustiness, makeup, manas, manes, manfulness, manliness, marrow, material, materialization, matter, meaning, meat, medium, mediumism, message, mettle, mettlesomeness, might, milieu, mind, mist, mold, mood, morale, motivation, moxie, nature, necromancy, nephesh, nerve, nerve center, note, notion, nub, nucleus, nuts and bolts, oni, oomph, overtone, panache, passion, passionateness, passions, pep, pepper, peppiness, perkiness, persona, pertinence, pertness, phantasm, phantasma, phantom, physical body, physique, piquancy, piss and vinegar, pith, pizzazz, playfulness, pluck, pluckiness, pneuma, poignancy, point, poltergeist, postulate, power, practical consequence, prana, presence, principle, principle of desire, promptness, property, psyche, pungency, purification, purport, purpose, purusha, push, pushfulness, pushiness, pushingness, quality, quick, quickness, quid, quiddity, quintessence, raciness, range of meaning, readiness, real meaning, reference, referent, refinement, relation, relevance, relish, resoluteness, resolution, resolve, revenant, robustness, rollicksomeness, rompishness, ruach, run away with, sand, sap, sauce, savor, scope, seance, seat of life, secret heart, secret places, self, semantic cluster, semantic field, sense, sentiments, seriousness, shade, shadow, shanghai, shape, shrouded spirit, significance, signification, significatum, signifie, sincerity, sitting, skittishness, skyjack, smoke, snap, snatch, somatotype, sort, soul, span of meaning, spark of life, sparkle, specter, spectral ghost, spice, spirit away, spirit up, spiritedness, spiritism, spirits, spiritual being, spiritualism, spiritus, spook, sportiveness, sprightliness, sprite, spunk, spunkiness, stamina, stamp, starch, state of mind, sthula sharira, stout heart, streak, strength, stripe, strong drink, structural meaning, stuff, substance, suchness, sum, sum and substance, supernatural being, symbolic meaning, system, take away, talent, team spirit, temper, temperament, tendency, tenor, the nitty-gritty, the self, theophany, thin air, thought, timbre, tipple, tone, totality of associations, toughness, transferred meaning, transport, true being, true grit, true inwardness, type, umbra, unadorned meaning, undertone, unsubstantiality, up-and-comingness, urge, valor, value, vapor, vehemence, vein, venturesomeness, venturousness, verve, vigor, vim, vis vitae, vis vitalis, viscera, vision, vital energy, vital flame, vital fluid, vital force, vital principle, vital spark, vital spirit, vitality, vitals, vivaciousness, vivacity, vividness, walking dead man, wandering soul, warmth, warmth of feeling, way, will, wraith, zeal, zealousness, zest, zestfulness, zing, zip, zombie
Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1