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spirit Meaning, Definition & Usage

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

Spir"it noun
OF. espirit, esperit, F. esprit, L. spiritus, from spirare to breathe, to blow. Cf. Conspire, Expire, Esprit, Sprite.
  1. Air set in motion by breathing; breath; hence, sometimes, life itself. Obs. "All of spirit would deprive." Spenser.
    The mild air, with season moderate, Gently attempered, and disposed eo well, That still it breathed foorth sweet spirit. Spenser.
  2. A rough breathing; an aspirate, as the letter h; also, a mark to denote aspiration; a breathing. Obs.
    Be it a letter or spirit, we have great use for it. B. Jonson.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
    There is a spirit in man; and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding. Job xxxii. 8.
    As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. James ii. 26.
    Spirit is a substance wherein thinking, knowing, doubting, and a power of moving, do subsist. Locke.
  5. Specifically, a disembodied soul; the human soul after it has left the body.
    Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was, and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it. Eccl. xii. 7.
    Ye gentle spirits far away, With whom we shared the cup of grace. Keble.
  6. Any supernatural being, good or bad; an apparition; a specter; a ghost; also, sometimes, a sprite,; a fairy; an elf.
    Whilst young, preserve his tender mind from all impressions of spirits and goblins in the dark. Locke.
  7. Energy, vivacity, ardor, enthusiasm, courage, etc.
    "Write it then, quickly," replied Bede; and summoning all his spirits together, like the last blaze of a candle going out, he indited it, and expired. Fuller.
  8. One who is vivacious or lively; one who evinces great activity or peculiar characteristics of mind or temper; as, a ruling spirit; a schismatic spirit.
    Such spirits as he desired to please, such would I choose for my judges. Dryden.
  9. Temper or disposition of mind; mental condition or disposition; intellectual or moral state; -- often in the plural; as, to be cheerful, or in good spirits; to be downhearted, or in bad spirits.
    God has . . . made a spirit of building succeed a spirit of pulling down. South.
    A perfect judge will read each work of wit With the same spirit that its author writ. Pope.
  10. 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; as, the spirit of an enterprise, of a document, or the like.
  11. Tenuous, volatile, airy, or vapory substance, possessed of active qualities.
    All bodies have spirits . . . within them. Bacon.
  12. Any liquid produced by distillation; especially, alcohol, the spirits, or spirit, of wine (it having been first distilled from wine): -- often in the plural.
  13. pl. Rum, whisky, brandy, gin, and other distilled liquors having much alcohol, in distinction from wine and malt liquors.
  14. (Med.) A solution in alcohol of a volatile principle. Cf. Tincture. U. S. Disp.
  15. (Alchemy) Any one of the four substances, sulphur, sal ammoniac, quicksilver, or arsenic (or, according to some, orpiment).
    The four spirits and the bodies seven. Chaucer.
  16. (Dyeing) Stannic chloride. See under Stannic. Spirit is sometimes joined with other words, forming compounds, generally of obvious signification; as, spirit-moving, spirit-searching, spirit-stirring, etc. Syn. -- Life; ardor; energy; fire; courage; animatioon; cheerfulness; vivacity; enterprise.
Spir"it transitive verb
imperfect & past participle Spirited; present participle & verbal noun Spiriting
  1. To animate with vigor; to excite; to encourage; to inspirit; as, civil dissensions often spirit the ambition of private men; -- sometimes followed by up.
    Many officers and private men spirit up and assist those obstinate people to continue in their rebellion. Swift
  2. To convey rapidly and secretly, or mysteriously, as if by the agency of a spirit; to kidnap; -- often with away, or off.
    The ministry had him spirited away, and carried abroad as a dangerous person. Arbuthnot & Pope.
    I felt as if I had been spirited into some castle of antiquity. Willis.

Webster 1913

"Rowling never met an adverb she didn't like."

-Stephen King on J.K Rowling's excessive use of adverbs.

Fear not the Adverb Hell!

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