From Biology-Online Dictionary | Biology-Online Dictionary


1. Air set in motion by breathing; breath; hence, sometimes, life itself. All of spirit would deprive. 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. 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 1000

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): oft f5e en in the plural.

13. Rum, whisky, brandy, gin, and other distilled liquors having much alcohol, in distinction from wine and malt liquors.

14. (Science: medicine) A solution in alcohol of a volatile principle. Cf. Tincture.

15. (Science: chemistry) 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. Stannic chloride. See Stannic.

Spirit is sometimes joined with other words, forming compounds, generally of obvious signification; as, spirit-moving, spirit-searching, spirit-stirring, etc. Astral spirits, Familiar spirits, etc. See Astral, Familiar, etc. Animal spirits.

(Science: medicine) alcohol; so called because formerly obtained by the distillation of wine. Spirit rapper, one who practices spirit rapping; a medium so called. Spirit rapping, an alleged form of communication with the spirits of the dead by raps. See spiritualism. Sweet spirit of niter. See Spirit of nitrous ether, above.

Synonym: life, ardor, energy, fire, courage, animatioon, cheerfulness, vivacity, enterprise.

Origin: OF. Espirit, esperit, F. Esprit, L. Spiritus, from spirare to breathe, to blow. Cf. Conspire, Expire, Esprit, Sprite.