Definition of spirit in US English:



  • 1The nonphysical part of a person which is the seat of emotions and character; the soul.

    ‘we seek a harmony between body and spirit’
    • ‘There was so much more to it, so many facets to her; her mind, her character, her spirit.’
    • ‘I believe in this way that the soul/spirit is reflected by the body, that the soul gives life to the body and without a spirit or soul the body and brain are dead.’
    • ‘It shimmers with characters, sayings, spirits, gods and goddesses from a pantheon of faiths.’
    • ‘And most amazing, we get to receive the Eucharist into our spirits, souls and bodies.’
    • ‘This capacity for greatness can reside only in the neshamah, the spirit which God instills within man.’
    • ‘The emotions and spirits metaphorically trickle down from the non-physical to the physical cells via the transportation of light.’
    • ‘It can cleanse our spirit and psyche and body, leaving everything cleansed and renewed.’
    • ‘In the sanctuaries, besides the temples, there was a theatre and a stadium, because the Greeks used to pay the same attention to the soul, the spirit and the body.’
    • ‘One specifically African belief, however, is retained in a tripartite human being consisting of a body, a soul and a spirit.’
    • ‘His soul, his spirit, his entire being, all are grounded in the realm of the universal…’
    • ‘A soul or spirit is a non-physical entity capable of perception and self-awareness.’
    • ‘The human being possesses levels of reality situated in the vertical hierarchy of body, soul and spirit.’
    • ‘The head was thought to be the seat of the spirit in pre-Roman Britain so it may be a local native tradition.’
    • ‘All of it speaks of incarnation: the unity of divinity and humanity, body and spirit, flesh and soul, grace and nature.’
    • ‘The mind, the psyche, the soul, the spirit - call it what you will - also has to be returned to some sort of equilibrium.’
    • ‘The acquisition of the body and spirit on the soul is the result of Karma.’
    • ‘And for me, she was the greatest gift because she understood my soul and my spirit as an artist, even though I was a divinity student.’
    • ‘A spiritualist healer works with the spirit, mind, emotions, and body of the recipient.’
    • ‘Whether they call it soul, spirit, atman or buddhanature, all the major religions say that men and women have the same essential nature.’
    • ‘No doubt you've guessed that I think I believe in reincarnation - the doctrine of the rebirth of the spirit / soul in different bodies.’
    soul, psyche, inner self, inner being, essential being
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 The nonphysical part of a person regarded as their true self and as capable of surviving physical death or separation.
      ‘a year after he left, his spirit is still present’
      • ‘According to spiritualists, the spirit dwells in the physical body, but can leave it temporarily or permanently.’
      • ‘Essentially we are spirit and soul, but our material bodies are dross.’
      • ‘If only the spirit and not the body counts, then it is the individual and not the assembly that matters.’
      • ‘Let us establish this fact in our minds, that we are all so made as souls and spirits so that we shall never die.’
      • ‘Kanyu is the essence of feng shui; feng shui without kanyu is like a body without a spirit.’
      • ‘Her idea seems to be that terrible things can happen to a person, but he can still survive if his spirit remains unbroken.’
      • ‘It was like one of those captivating heavyweight fights where the challenger takes a pounding but the beating is only physical and his spirit remains unspoilt.’
      • ‘Ultimately, we tear our spirits out of our bodies as our way of declaring harmonious union.’
      • ‘We are learning that when our bodies or minds or spirits are sick, it affects all parts of us in some way.’
      • ‘Although women in Japanese Gothic fiction are often victims of male abuse, their spirits are capable of powerful revenge.’
      • ‘YET I remained basically sceptical when it came to the idea that the spirit survives death.’
      • ‘Copra argued that the original split in ancient times did not occur between body and mind but between body and soul or spirit.’
      • ‘This spirit soul must enter into the spiritual sky to merge into the Brahman effulgence.’
      • ‘He sat me down and told me that once a body dies, the spirit / soul immediately leaves the body and only the body or shell, if you will, remained.’
      • ‘He believed we are each comprised of body, spirit, and soul.’
      • ‘We live in a world of spirits, where souls live and reincarnate.’
      • ‘If something survives, if a spirit continues, it sure isn't me.’
      • ‘These common traits all arise from a fundamental dualism that privileges the spirit and deprecates the body.’
      life force, animating principle, vital spark, breath of life
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 The nonphysical part of a person manifested as an apparition after their death; a ghost.
      • ‘I've sensed the presence of lost spirits and helped them move on.’
      • ‘Just a few days ago, I sat down with a woman who is a medium, and we got to talking about spirits and ghosts.’
      • ‘Men in the mode of goodness worship the demigods; those in the mode of passion worship the demons; and those in the mode of ignorance worship ghosts and spirits.’
      • ‘It is believed that these spirits, ‘drowned ghosts’, will suffer in the water until someone else comes to take their place.’
      • ‘In this sense, ‘ghosts’ mean the spirits, the apparition of the dead or the devils.’
      • ‘They claimed that disembodied spirits can wander in and out of the minds of the living as easily as a tramp can walk into a house with its doors and windows open.’
      • ‘He fires more questions at the ghost, but the spirit only points at the grave in answer.’
      • ‘Horatio speaks to the spirit, but the ghost stalks away in silence.’
      • ‘Spiteful witches, hungry ghosts, and angry spirits are thought to inflict illness and misfortune.’
      • ‘I don't even believe in ghosts or spirits or any of this!’
      • ‘The movie Ghost also involves spirits who have unfinished business on planet Earth, but in this case, the ghost is here to assist the living.’
      • ‘Unusual events and encounters may be attributed to ghost spirits.’
      • ‘Every year, the souls and spirits of the departed Zoroastrians are invited back for a 10-day festival.’
      • ‘Some of these spirits are ‘ghosts,’ the spirits of human beings following death.’
      • ‘Only it turns out some of those ghosts are powerful ancestor spirits.’
      • ‘The spirit or ghost came closer and stopped right in front of Evelyn.’
      • ‘He knew without being told that the spirits had manifested in him.’
      • ‘People who study the paranormal believe these apparitions are the wandering spirits of guards and inmates murdered long ago.’
      • ‘They respond by making offerings to deities and propitiating spirits, as we have seen, and in other ways, too.’
      • ‘Children love ghost stories, and what is the difference between a ghost and a spirit at the end of the day?’
      ghost, phantom, spectre, apparition, wraith, shadow, presence
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3 A supernatural being.
      ‘shrines to nature spirits’
      • ‘Tzaer had never been religious, but he had read and heard enough about it to recognize the dragon as a manifestation of the shadow spirit, Khorthage.’
      • ‘Supernatural creatures such as angels, genies, ghosts, and spirits, are believed to exist.’
      • ‘The Japanese culture and arts have been strongly influenced by a wide-spread belief in ghosts, demons and supernatural spirits.’
      • ‘The Heian period, we are told, was a time when spirits and demons wandered the earth, plaguing mortal man.’
      • ‘The kami can be likened to nature spirits, and Shinto shrines are usually found in areas of natural beauty.’
      • ‘He soon learns that Laura's true killer is a spirit called Bob, operating by inhabiting various human vessels and carrying out his gruesome deeds.’
      • ‘They are often compared to ghosts, demons and spirits and are attributed appropriate powers.’
      • ‘And I believed her when she spoke of magic, ghosts, spirits, and fairies that danced in the rain.’
      • ‘Likewise, her personal experiences of ghosts, spirits and fairies tell something about Berit Anne as an individual and the role her stories play in her understanding of life.’
      • ‘The books are filled with talking dogs, angels, spirits, ghosts, demons and death.’
      • ‘Ghosts, spirits and fairies can still be fascinating and entertaining.’
      • ‘Psi may be the result of nonphysical beings such as spirits or gods, and the elusive nature of psi may reflect the will of those beings.’
      • ‘If what Myra the spirit said was fully true, he might never see his brothers and sisters again.’
      • ‘Sum Sae-Ng, 47, the leader, told officers that the cult worshipped ghosts and land spirits.’
      • ‘Surya, God of the Sun, is worshiped and the nature spirits are thanked.’
      • ‘They thought He was a ghost, a phantasm, an apparition, a spirit, anything except their Master.’
      • ‘SPI does not have a mission to prove the existence of ghosts, spirits, or monsters as you are free to believe what you wish.’
      • ‘The Druids believed that the witches, ghosts, and evil spirits walked on earth on the night of October 31.’
      • ‘She had accepted what she was long ago - a demon, a vengeful spirit - a hungry ghost.’
      • ‘In this, we have taken a step closer towards a naturalistic world-view that is able to dispense with spirits, ghosts and gods.’
    4. 1.4
      short for Holy Spirit
      • ‘To be part of God's response to the cries of the world is to be alive in the Spirit.’
      • ‘They do not see the cross, and so they do not see the kingdom of God and new life in the Spirit.’
      • ‘Do you now see why the Spirit has led us to start with God?’
      • ‘Prayer is not the only way the Spirit works to convince us that Jesus is Lord.’
      • ‘The Spirit who moved Jesus so dramatically is the same Spirit who lives in us.’
      • ‘If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.’
      • ‘When the Spirit was given it was so that the Church would have power to witness for Jesus.’
      • ‘The Spirit frees the Father to let the Son go, and so actually to love him.’
      • ‘Writing to the Corinthians, Paul offered some clues for where to look for the Spirit's work.’
      • ‘Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.’
  • 2in singular Those qualities regarded as forming the definitive or typical elements in the character of a person, nation, or group or in the thought and attitudes of a particular period.

    ‘the university is a symbol of the nation's egalitarian spirit’
    • ‘It was a change in attitude, a spirit of openness and mutual trust because that clearly was at the crux of the matter.’
    • ‘Consistent with the egalitarian spirit of Epicureanism, Bentham's goal was the greatest happiness of the greatest number.’
    • ‘The spirit of a flag derives from the spirit of a nation.’
    • ‘In the egalitarian spirit of the French Revolution, the newly independent Haiti abolished primogeniture.’
    • ‘The spirit of foolishness prevails and no individual branch of Christianity gets special treatment - everyone is fair game here.’
    • ‘We have despatched a wealth of business together over a short period in a spirit of optimism.’
    • ‘It is my hope that people respond to the spirit of hate, wherever it appears, by renewing their commitment to the long and difficult task of healing and reconciliation.’
    • ‘It is therefore contrary to the spirit of rationalism to force people to do anything which could plausibly be left to the individual to decide for themselves.’
    • ‘Today, people say, out of a spirit of egalitarian tolerance: Social democracy for Swedes!’
    • ‘Another deft bit of prose, this one by Shakespeare, also captures the optimistic spirit of the season.’
    • ‘Ujjal Dossanjh is certainly the man who epitomizes the entrepreneurial spirit of Indian community in Canada.’
    • ‘Some attempts are being made to bring the spirit of individual sport and glory back to its roots with the Nemean Games, a worthy but only partial successful attempt.’
    • ‘For Marshal Petain the explanation of defeat was quite simple: ‘the spirit of enjoyment has prevailed over the spirit of sacrifice’.’
    • ‘The perception, he admits, might be that government is handing down what is right for people, and an election gives an opportunity to listen to people in a spirit of humility.’
    • ‘For more than 40 years Clubbo Records has epitomized the maverick spirit of the old-school independent record labels.’
    • ‘The reformers had been at work in the period 1807-13, drumming up the patriotic spirit of the people.’
    • ‘Confucian thought is characterized by a spirit of humanism, rationalism, and moralism.’
    • ‘We wanted the artists to give their visual response to this idea of the spirit of the nation.’
    ethos, prevailing tendency, motivating force, animating principle, dominating characteristic, essence, quintessence
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1with adjective A person identified with their most prominent mental or moral characteristics or with their role in a group or movement.
      ‘he was a leading spirit in the conference’
      • ‘However, full credit must go to Tommy Marren who is the inspirational spirit behind this great venture.’
      • ‘If she is a freer spirit and tends to favor things that are funky, a contemporary engagement ring, such as a "floating diamond" style, may be perfect.’
      • ‘Mr Charles Fricker, well known for his shows with trained Alsatians, is the moving spirit behind the idea.’
      • ‘Lucy herself is a powerful character, an independent spirit with a thirst for revenge that threatens to consume her.’
      • ‘The project officer of WDC, P. Renugadevi, was the motivating spirit behind the designing of the logo, he says.’
      • ‘Tim Hornsby, the entrepreneurial spirit behind such café bars as Fibbers in York and the Blues Bar in Harrogate, is more cautious.’
      • ‘The moving spirit behind the Bhagavata Mela is the president and chairman of the Sangam, S. Natarajan.’
      • ‘She is a creative spirit and a risk-taker who prefers the road more passionate over the road more practical.’
      • ‘This revolutionary spirit is not just about changing the world, but also about what Jim calls ‘tuning people's ears to poetry.’’
      • ‘He has demonstrated quality leadership, and embodies both entrepreneurial spirit and business excellence.’
      • ‘She is a gentle spirit with a wonderful sense of humor and great talent.’
    2. 2.2 A specified emotion or mood, especially one prevailing at a particular time.
      ‘I hope the team will build on this spirit of confidence’
      • ‘And in the great American spirit of competition, new is better.’
      • ‘I aspire to reinforce the tradition of Athens as a place known for its everlasting spirit of hospitality.’
      • ‘At least that spirit of common sense has prevailed more recently, during the Christmas masses.’
      • ‘And we are glad to see that this spirit of inclusion is evident in the practices of other automakers who do business in this country as well.’
      • ‘And it started out like that, and there wasn't a lot of truth in it, but there was a lot of spirit of adventure about the whole interview.’
      • ‘While similar to the first in its spirit of inquiry and moral seriousness, it differs in that it does not offer any policy prescriptions.’
      • ‘With China's new spirit of capitalism, a good supply of these items is coming out of China and showing up for sale on eBay and elsewhere on the Internet.’
      • ‘He rejects the use of force, as inapplicable to the ‘fierce spirit of liberty’ prevailing in the English colonies.’
      • ‘Where students can sue their teachers, there can be no spirit of order and community, no flourishing of fellow-feeling.’
      • ‘Clearly our current spirit of neopatriotism cannot vanquish the old bogyman of racism in America.’
      • ‘Some might argue that this newfound spirit of cooperation has vindicated the Administration's tough approach to negotiations.’
      • ‘Like with Erik and his spirit of honor and generosity, the Gryphons were desperately needed for they could bring back the honor to the world.’
      • ‘It's this spirit of openness and accessibility that defines the 215 Fest.’
      • ‘I think it's really time for America to return to that spirit of community, and that has to be done in a bipartisan way.’
      • ‘Does the growing public resentment of the United States mean that this new spirit of pragmatism at the elite level will die out quickly?’
      • ‘And it is in this spirit of hope that I join with those in the United States and the world in commemorating and honoring this valiant effort.’
      • ‘No matter where you go in the US you only have to scratch the surface to find that inextinguishable spirit of dissent.’
      • ‘Even 36 hours of traveling didn't dampen the uniquely Congolese spirit of joy.’
      • ‘But Mike, whose spirit of fair play always prevails in the end, couldn't let it stand.’
      • ‘The greatest enemy in York was not the Tories but the ‘prevailing spirit of apathy’, he told them.’
    3. 2.3spirits A person's mood.
      ‘the warm weather lifted everyone's spirits after the winter’
      • ‘By the time the show kicked off, almost two hours behind schedule, spirits inside Dior's custom-built tent were almost as damp as the weather outside.’
      • ‘As the bell rang for us to get out of class, I got up from my seat, my spirits actually higher than they were before.’
      • ‘Despite the accident Mrs McAleese remains in good spirits and is intent on carrying out her official role despite her temporary disability.’
      • ‘I love jasmine, which is said to lift the spirits and combat depression.’
      • ‘This past weekend, however, I saw a remarkable and positive change in the spirits and attitudes of the American soldiers here.’
      • ‘True, her spirits had been higher than usual, but she couldn't pinpoint an exact event that had caused them to be so.’
      • ‘It was a real boost to the spirits, as was the coffee and cake I had at a patisserie afterwards.’
      • ‘Your positive outlook lifts the spirits of everyone around you.’
      • ‘Osman - a lanky, amiable giant of a man - seems in good spirits, but the real revelation is bandleader Brett Anderson.’
    4. 2.4 The attitude or intentions with which someone undertakes or regards something.
      ‘he confessed in a spirit of self-respect, not defiance’
      mood, frame of mind, state of mind, emotional state, humour, temper
      temperament, disposition, character, nature, personality, temper, make-up, humour, cast of mind, turn of mind, complexion
      attitude, frame of mind, way of thinking, way of looking at it, state of mind, point of view, outlook, thoughts, ideas
      View synonyms
    5. 2.5 The quality of courage, energy, and determination or assertiveness.
      ‘his visitors admired his spirit and good temper’
      • ‘As these and dozens of other contributions came in from people all over the world who had met Peter and admired his spirit and energy, his family had to take up where he left off.’
      • ‘Despite losing, the Blues at least showed some spirit and determination which has been in short supply from them this season.’
      • ‘She was a lady of great spirit, independence, determination and resourcefulness, much admired and much liked, and she will be greatly missed.’
      • ‘I admire Bud's courageous spirit, because he's also still recovering from eye surgery last year.’
      • ‘The girls played with great determination, spirit and skill.’
      • ‘The Chelsea coach had commented that his team are far behind Manchester United ‘not in terms of quality but in terms of spirit and determination’.’
      • ‘This combined with the boundless spirit of people like the Andersons helps to ensure that, whatever else cancer may take, dignity and hope remain out of its grasp.’
      • ‘We want a bit of spirit and determination in their play.’
      • ‘Sure, it's got the action, and some of the same style, along with all the same controls, but what it really lacks is the energy and spirit.’
      • ‘But it has produced sides whose spirit, determination and commitment have matched that of any club, anywhere.’
      • ‘But the fact that they felt free to speak up and raise their concerns shows that some of our old spirit has survived.’
      • ‘Together, they deliver a stunning set - full of energy, spirit and skill, and far in excess of anything which we might have imagined from a support act.’
      • ‘The narrator makes the point that ‘bombs can only kill people, they cannot destroy the indomitable spirit of a nation.’’
      • ‘He says his team's strengths are spirit and determination.’
      • ‘It was a performance packed with spirit, determination and confidence as they had to fight back from an early 10-0 deficit.’
      • ‘Although neither of us hunts, we like the spirit and character of hunting dogs.’
      • ‘Not only are you determined, you're extremely brave and I really admire your courage and your spirit and I wish you really all the very best.’
      • ‘‘The best thing about the strike is the spirit and the character it has put back into all of us,’ said another.’
      • ‘His shadowy silhouette has become recognised around the world as a symbol of compassion, determination, and spirit.’
      • ‘Swans have shown great spirit, courage, determination and team unity this year but the most important ingredient to the Swans outfit has been an increase in skill.’
      morale, team spirit
      courage, bravery, courageousness, braveness, pluck, pluckiness, valour, strength of character, fortitude, backbone, spine, mettle, stout-heartedness, determination, firmness of purpose, resolution, resoluteness, resolve, fight, gameness
      animation, enthusiasm, eagerness, keenness, liveliness, vivacity, vivaciousness, energy, verve, vigour, dynamism, zest, dash, elan, panache, sparkle, exuberance, gusto, brio, pep, go, sap, fervour, zeal, fire, passion
      View synonyms
    6. 2.6 The real meaning or the intention behind something as opposed to its strict verbal interpretation.
      ‘the rule had been broken in spirit if not in letter’
      • ‘The spirit and intent of this rule dovetails with the interpretation of rule 21.02 I have suggested.’
      • ‘But these recommendations, too, are pragmatic; and they relate only to the enforcement of drugs policy, not to the spirit behind it.’
      • ‘Despite being old, this definition gives the spirit behind the discipline.’
      • ‘A mission statement, a goal to strive for, something that should guide our laws ‘so that effect may be given to its spirit and intent’.’
      • ‘The show, which has been running in Athy for almost ten years, unites the town into the real spirit and meaning of Christmas.’
      • ‘For the first time in my life, I agreed wholeheartedly with these comments, or the spirit behind these comments.’
      real meaning, true meaning, true intention, essence, substance
      View synonyms
  • 3usually spiritsBritish Strong distilled liquor such as brandy, whiskey, gin, or rum.

    • ‘It is the home of a drinking establishment known as the Old Devil Inn, purveyors of strong ales, stronger spirits and artery-clogging pub food.’
    • ‘A single blended brand can contain as many as 75 different straight whiskies and neutral spirits.’
    • ‘Favor clear spirits like vodka and gin over darker-colored alcohols like whiskey, brandy or red wine.’
    • ‘Drinks makers have long viewed the Far East as a lucrative market, with spirits, particularly whisky, popular in the region.’
    • ‘The type of alcohol ranged from beers, lagers and cider to spirits, wine and designer drinks such as Hooch, Bacardi Breezers and Maverick Ice.’
    • ‘Sam Smiths has sent a memorandum to all its pub managers, saying it plans to do away with brand-name spirits, including whisky, gin and vodka.’
    • ‘Most of them are used to mature spirits: various brandies, rums, and whiskies.’
    • ‘This new name will market a greatly enhanced portfolio of wines, champagnes, spirits, beers and liqueurs.’
    • ‘Much of the village economy revolves around the production and consumption of locally brewed beer and distilled spirits.’
    • ‘Spencer says consumer products could be targeted and he would not be surprised if excise duties on whisky and other spirits were increased.’
    • ‘But it sells miniature bottles of spirits like Vodka and tequila by the side of the machine.’
    • ‘The Chinese do drink - beer, wine and strong spirits - but only when they eat.’
    • ‘The quantities of the common spirits, such as gin, rum, vodka and whisky are controlled too.’
    • ‘There were no longer many small distillers producing varying kinds of whisky and spirits throughout the country.’
    • ‘It is certainly a good time to stock up on spirits, especially whisky, which seems to be regarded as the perfect Father's Day present.’
    • ‘The same could be said of a beer drinker going onto strong lagers or spirits.’
    • ‘As for tax on beer and not whisky, spirits have had tax put on them.’
    • ‘Beer, lager, cider and spirits were confiscated from the group and letters have been sent to their parents.’
    • ‘As well as a very strong whisky and spirit list, the chain has a number of exceptional finds from niche wine-growers, and is particularly strong on Spanish wines.’
    • ‘The demand for stronger beers and spirits lead to a lucrative trade during which Portuguese traders and Kavango people exchanged a bag of brown sugar for a heifer.’
    strong liquor, liquor, strong drink
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1mass noun, with modifier A volatile liquid, especially a fuel, prepared by distillation.
      ‘aviation spirit’
      • ‘The tanker he was driving was carrying more than 32,000 litres of petroleum spirit and 5,000 litres of diesel fuel.’
      • ‘In January 1929, for instance, only two loaded vessels arrived, one with petroleum spirit from Liverpool and the other with cement from London.’
      • ‘In recent years, however, and mostly in urban areas, high - octane fuel and methylated spirit have been added to enhance potency.’
    2. 3.2archaic A solution of volatile components extracted from something, typically by distillation or by solution in alcohol.
      ‘spirits of turpentine’
      • ‘Spots on all finishes except lacquer can be treated with a cloth dampened with spirits of camphor, essence of peppermint or oil of wintergreen.’
  • 4archaic A highly refined substance or fluid thought to govern vital phenomena.

    • ‘However, his medicines were not designed to help the body fight off infection or rebuild tissue, but to help the vital spirit work its magic.’
    • ‘Neptune indicates dilution and weakening of the vital spirit.’
    • ‘I am exceedingly melancholy of complexion, subject to consumptions and chilliness of my vital spirits, a slavish and sickly life being allotted to me in his city.’
    • ‘It passes from the liver to the heart where it revitalises the vital spirit and to brain where it revitalises the animal spirits.’
    • ‘For it, he drew once again on Harvey's discovery of the circulation of the blood, and proposed that it was one part of a complicated system involving animal and vital spirits.’


  • with object and adverbial of direction Convey rapidly and secretly.

    ‘stolen cows were spirited away some distance to prevent detection’
    • ‘He also falls in love at first sight with Kokintz's daughter, before spiriting both away, with the Q bomb in hand, back to Grand Fenwick.’
    • ‘He then begins a campaign of terror to ensure that his beloved gets the best parts before spiriting her away to his subterranean lair to be his infernal bride.’
    • ‘This weekend, he's spiriting a bunch of poor Russian kids to London to catch a performance of Mamma Mia.’
    • ‘Shaggy's enjoyed our fair share of kind offers to have our anatomy enlarged, become an ordained minister online or join a deceased dictator's family in spiriting millions of dollars out of Africa.’
    • ‘In the movie's duller stretches, the viewer may daydream of pulling up in an unmarked van and spiriting the actor away to a better film.’
    • ‘Liam has big plans to rescue Jean from the clutches of the two bullying men in her life by spiriting her away to the drug-free zone of the countryside.’
    • ‘This e-mail claims an Iraqi oil heir has $12.5 million in cash and needs assistance spiriting it out of Baghdad.’
    • ‘Hoops of plant stems woven and placed under milk storage jugs, pails and churns would prevent milk being spirited away by fairies.’
    • ‘The next day we hear that flying saucers are beaming people up to space and spiriting them away to Mars…’
    • ‘Fearing a default will weaken banks, consumers have been spiriting money out of the country.’
    • ‘‘When I find out who's been spiriting the stuff away, they'll be gone, too,’ she warned them, ‘to jail.’’
    • ‘A spokesman for Caritas said simply, ‘most of them are reducing their staff as much as possible’ and spiriting them out to safety.’
    • ‘She is pushy and overprotective, bossing the Indian servants around and spiriting the baby off to her wet nurse sister without telling Lily how the baby is fed (‘We have our ways,’ she says cryptically).’
    • ‘Perhaps, the Beijing worker was spirited away to act as some sort of investment adviser.’
    • ‘If the Federal government had any hopes of spiriting the Iranian detainees quietly out of the country, those hopes are now dashed.’
    • ‘People think I'm angry about that because I blame them for spiriting her away from the jail and losing me an interview with her.’
    • ‘You moved faster than this while we were spiriting you away from the hospital!’
    • ‘Francesco confided to his sister that he was sure that Teresa would succeed in spiriting her daughter away from the other convent.’
    • ‘Frank rescues the couple and their about-to-be born child, spiriting them to a secret home deep in the woods, where their child will join two others that have been saved.’
    • ‘For months now, they've been trading in their pesos for greenbacks and stuffing them under their mattresses or spiriting their money overseas.’
    abduct, kidnap, make off with, run away with, whisk away, carry off, steal away with, snatch, seize
    View synonyms


  • enter into the spirit

    • Join wholeheartedly in an event, especially one of celebration and festivity.

      ‘he entered into the spirit of the occasion by dressing as a pierrot’
      • ‘Even cynical UK sports writers have entered into the spirit of national optimism and who can blame them?’
      • ‘‘Parents too are being encouraged to enter into the spirit,’ said Mr Gardner.’
      • ‘The staff are entering into the spirit and designing a crew outfit for the occasion based on Venetian boatmen complete with ribbons and sashes.’
      • ‘David Gooch entered into the spirit of April Fool's Day driving around the district with half a beard.’
      • ‘The children really entered into the spirit as well.’
      • ‘Miss Wood said: ‘Everyone entered into the spirit with gusto and there were some very fetching outfits with an appropriate percentage of cleavage on show.’’
      • ‘These youths were not entering into the spirit of Halloween but just causing anti-social behaviour and it is particularly frightening for elderly people.’
      • ‘It's not just about money, it's about entering into the spirit across the nation.’
      • ‘The staff had all entered into the spirit, wearing their England shirts.’
      • ‘Schoolchildren in North Craven are entering into the spirit of Comic Relief with various fundraising events.’
  • in (or in the) spirit

    • In thought or intention though not physically.

      ‘he couldn't be here in person, but he is with us in spirit’
      • ‘Wick had hoped he'd at least have Jared backing him up, either physically or in spirit.’
      • ‘Maybe he can't physically be with us during the day, but he's there in spirit.’
      • ‘In other words, they might be in France physically but in spirit they might be as well be in Saudi Arabia.’
      • ‘"The fallen are here in spirit with us today," said the VFW member, who served in the 1991 Persian Gulf War.’
      • ‘"It shows the children have gone away physically, but they're still here in spirit," Polhamus said.’
  • the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak

    • proverb Someone has good intentions but fails to live up to them.

      • ‘When the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak, let these 100% cotton panties do the talking for you, ‘What Would Jesus Do?’’
      • ‘On the contrary, it is an all too common experience that your evaluative commitments lead you on one path but that you go nonetheless on another: the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.’
      • ‘Who knows, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak and again subject to pain in the nether regions from the saddle.’
  • when the spirit moves someone

    • When someone feels inclined to do something.

      ‘he can be quite candid when the spirit moves him’
      • ‘Simpson can write like a dream when the spirit moves him.’
      • ‘But when the spirit moves you, you respond: A group of women suddenly sat down on the road in a line clear across the street and completely blocked all passage of cars.’
      • ‘Kobe's preferred game plan is to disregard his teammates and shoot when the spirit moves him.’
      • ‘Now, when the spirit moves me to clean out drawers and closets, I'm on the search for things to replenish my regifting shelf.’
      • ‘Men do spend a lot of time in there, when the spirit moves them (so to speak) but it is nothing when compared to how much time the woman spends there.’
      • ‘We also have quite a few contributors who like to hang back and give us something only when the spirit moves them.’
      • ‘The two nameless pieces of Duh are built out of guitars, samples, amplifier hums, drum machines, effects processors, and, when the spirit moves them, garbled screaming.’
      • ‘The Rams can still move the ball in explosive fashion when the spirit moves them, but their weak defense and special teams and front-office paranoia are major detriments.’
  • the spirit world

    • (in animistic and occult belief) the nonphysical realm in which disembodied spirits have their existence.

      • ‘So it's almost like there is an opening, an opportunity, to communicate with the spirit world.’
      • ‘Korean shamans communicated with the spirit world.’
      • ‘Another tool that Twain provides for Jim on his quest for freedom is the latter's belief in the spirit world.’
      • ‘Without any direct human help, the table tipped from side to side - and the students were in contact with the spirit world.’
      • ‘I know many people who converse with the spirit world on a regular basis and all these people I have had contact with in the last few years have made me realise what my faith really is.’
      • ‘Jesus is now a spirit that one can communicate with in the spirit world.’
      • ‘It attracts many as a kind of shamanistic ritual to enter the spirit world.’
      • ‘Of course there is ‘evidence’ that not all the people who pass into the spirit world will have a good time.’
      • ‘Many, he said, were attracted to the occult simply by curiosity, and then by a desire to investigate the proof it offered of the existence of the spirit world.’
      • ‘The article goes on to detail how to read the future in a lampshade, contact your spiritual guides and ask the spirit world to get you the job you want.’
  • out of spirits

    • Sad; discouraged.

      ‘I was too tired and out of spirits to eat or drink much’
      • ‘‘You do seem a little out of spirits today, Wendy,’ he said and smiled.’
      • ‘He had come on behalf of his sister who was still out of spirits from what had happened at the ball, and he had hope that Imogene visiting her would cheer his sister up.’
      • ‘It certainly did seem rather dull and out of spirits.’
      • ‘Poole confesses that Dr. Jekyll is constantly confined to the laboratory and is often out of spirits.’
      • ‘From where she was, Em could sense better than she could see that he was notably out of spirits.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • spirit someone up

    • Stimulate, animate, or cheer up someone.

      • ‘Teatime, even just to indulge in the pervasive smell of Blue Mountain or Santos coffee will spirit you up.’
      • ‘Therefore, you can have the initiative: show him you appreciate him, make him feel safe and try to spirit him up.’
      • ‘Our teachers might sometimes ask Frank to entertain all of the class to spirit us up.’


Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French, from Latin spiritus ‘breath, spirit’, from spirare ‘breathe’.