a. A force or principle believed to animate living beings.
b. A force or principle believed to animate humans and often to endure after departing from the body of a person at death; the soul.
2. Spirit The Holy Spirit.
3. A supernatural being, as:
a. An angel or demon.
b. A being inhabiting or embodying a particular place, object, or natural phenomenon.
c. A fairy or sprite.
a. The part of a human associated with the mind, will, and feelings: Though unable to join us today, they are with us in spirit.
b. The essential nature of a person or group.
5. A person as characterized by a stated quality: He is a proud spirit.
a. An inclination or tendency of a specified kind: Her actions show a generous spirit.
b. A pervasive or essential attitude, quality, or principle: the spirit of 1776.
a. An attitude marked by enthusiasm, energy, or courage: sang with spirit; troops that fought with spirit.
b. spirits A mood or emotional state: The guests were in high spirits. His sour spirits put a damper on the gathering.
c. Strong loyalty or dedication: team spirit.
8. The actual though unstated sense or significance of something: the spirit of the law.
9. often spirits (used with a sing. verb) An alcohol solution of an essential or volatile substance.
10. spirits An alcoholic beverage, especially distilled liquor.
tr.v. spir·it·ed, spir·it·ing, spir·its
1. To carry off mysteriously or secretly: The documents had been spirited away.
2. To impart courage, animation, or determination to; inspirit.
[Middle English, from Old French espirit, from Latin spīritus, breath, from spīrāre, to breathe.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.