Date: 1200-1300
Language: Anglo-French
Origin: Latin spiritus 'breath, spirit'


1 noun
spir‧it1 S3 W2


[singular, uncountable]RR the qualities that make someone live the way they do, and make them different from other people
in spirit
I'm 85, but I still feel young in spirit.
independent/proud/free etc spirit (=a person with a particular type of character)
She is a strong and independent spirit.

➔ kindred spirit

at kindred2 (1)



[plural] the way someone feels at a particular time, for example if they are happy or sad [↪ mood]
be in good/high spirits (=be excited and happy)
Seb was still in high spirits after winning the race.
His spirits were so low (=he was so sad) that he refused to answer his phone.
raise/lift somebody's spirits (=make someone happier)
The warm morning sun lifted our spirits.
She wrote poetry while she was in the hospital to keep her spirits up (=keep happy).
somebody's spirits rise/lift/sink (=they become more or less happy)
My spirits sank when I saw the mess they'd left.


[countable]RR the part of someone that you cannot see, that consists of the qualities that make up their character, which many people believe continues to live after the person has died [↪ soul]:
Although Laurie is dead, I can feel his spirit with me.

no body

[countable]RO a creature without a physical body that some people believe exists, such as an angel or a dead person, who has returned to this world and has strange or magical powers [↪ ghost]:


[uncountable] courage, energy, and determination - use this to show approval:
Sandra is small, but she makes up for it with great spirit.
a young team with strong fighting spirit
When they took away his freedom, they broke his spirit (=made him lose his courage).


[singular, uncountable] the attitude that you have towards something or while you are doing something:
You've got to approach this meeting in the right spirit.
spirit of
the spirit of cooperation between the two sides

team/community/public etc spirit

a strong feeling of belonging to a particular group and wanting to help them

typical qualities

[countable usually singular] the set of ideas, beliefs, feelings etc that are typical of a particular period in history, a place, or a group of people
spirit of
Tourism has not destroyed the spirit of Bali.
the spirit of the age/times
His beliefs conflicted with the spirit of the age.

in spirit

if you say you will be somewhere in spirit or with someone in spirit, you will not be with them but will be thinking about them:
I can't come to your wedding, but I'll be there in spirit.

get/enter into the spirit (of something)

to start to feel as happy, excited etc as the people around you:
Judith couldn't really enter into the spirit of the occasion.


[uncountable] the meaning or qualities that someone intended something to have, especially the meaning that a law or rule was intended to have:
Thoreau believed that his actions were in the spirit of American institutions.
Miller's actions may not be actually illegal, but they have violated the spirit of the law.

➔ the letter of the law

at letter1 (4)

the Spirit

the Holy Spirit


[countable usually plural]
a) especially British EnglishDFD a strong alcoholic drink such as whisky or brandy
b) British English liquid such as alcohol, used for cleaning

that's the spirit

spoken used to express approval of someone's behaviour or attitude

when/as the spirit moves you

when you feel that you want to do something

the spirit is willing (but the flesh is weak)

used when saying that you want to do something, but you are too tired or do not feel strong enough - often used humorously

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