1. Of, relating to, consisting of, or having the nature of spirit; not material; supernatural: spiritual power.
2. Of, concerned with, or affecting the soul: spiritual guidance; spiritual growth.
3. Not concerned with material or worldly things: led a spiritual life.
4. Of or belonging to a religion; sacred: spiritual practices; spiritual music.
a. A religious folk song of African American origin.
b. A work composed in imitation of such a song.
2. often spirituals Religious, spiritual, or ecclesiastical matters.
[Middle English, from Old French spirituel, from Latin spīrituālis, of breathing, spiritual, from spīritus, breath; see SPIRIT.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.