One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1The substance of which a soul is made.
2(Cultural Anthropology) an immaterial substance believed to form the ‘spirit’ or ‘self’ of a person (in some cultures also of an animal or object) and which is independent of the material body and outlives it.
Mid 17th century; earliest use found in John Sparrow (1615–1670), translator and lawyer.
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