Definition of spiritual in US English:



  • 1Relating to or affecting the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things.

    ‘I'm responsible for his spiritual welfare’
    ‘the spiritual values of life’
    • ‘The metaphor of journey embraces both a physical journey and a spiritual journey.’
    • ‘When a great man like an Isaac makes a blessing, that blessing affects spiritual forces and becomes a reality.’
    • ‘Kathy is interested in how our environment - cultural, physical and spiritual - affects what we do, and thus who we become.’
    • ‘Is this then the end of the long march of human civilisation, this spiritual suicide, this quiet putrefaction of the soul into matter?’
    • ‘In the integrated complex, the spiritual concerns of the human soul and the temporal concerns of daily life came to be taken care of.’
    • ‘But has it also been endowed by our creator with a spiritual center, a soul, at this moment?’
    • ‘Encouraging mutuality acknowledges that our spiritual existence affects our physical existence.’
    • ‘Speech in humans is the manifest link between the physical and spiritual aspects of our existence.’
    • ‘A deeply spiritual prayer engages the souls of all who are present and will move the hearers often to tears.’
    • ‘Heads of families took charge of both the physical and spiritual welfare of those under them.’
    • ‘Ackroyd may have jettisoned traditional Catholicism, but in his work humans are spiritual beings with souls that survive death and time.’
    • ‘As for many romantic poets, love is the agent for the fusion of souls, spiritual transcendence, and metaphysical existence.’
    • ‘Symbols correlate human spiritual concerns with those otherwise inaccessible realities.’
    • ‘Humans bear the spiritual imprint of God due to the fact that they possess an immortal soul.’
    • ‘Jewish mysticism teaches that non-kosher food blocks the spiritual potential of the soul.’
    • ‘They interviewed people on their way of life, emotions, the history of Nestinari and most of all their souls and their spiritual ritual and mystical powers.’
    • ‘This, added to his real concern for the physical and spiritual welfare of Valene and Coleman, propels him to take drastic steps to secure their penitence and reformation.’
    • ‘Our spiritual existence affects our physical existence, and vice versa.’
    • ‘The original religion sees the human, spiritual, and physical worlds as interconnected, with their existence and functions ruled by Waaqa.’
    • ‘By and large, human spiritual welfare is seen as far more important than material welfare right through this period.’
    non-material, inner, psychic, psychical, psychological
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (of a person) not concerned with material values or pursuits.
      • ‘Can people be spiritual only if they feel a certain way?’
      • ‘They were deeply spiritual men engaged in a political enterprise.’
      • ‘He's a calm man, broad-shouldered, a little heavy in the gut, a well-loved husband and father, a loyal friend, a deeply spiritual man.’
      • ‘We are trying to be spiritual people in this field.’
      • ‘He's a spiritual man, but he's a man of action, too.’
      • ‘He's a spiritual person who is very misguided, but represents to you a very positive thing.’
      • ‘Deep down he was a very spiritual person, kind, charitable, and a good neighbour to all.’
      • ‘And, while I don't mean to defend spiritual people, I would wonder how they could even begin to define that.’
      • ‘Ned was a warm, spiritual person who had an outgoing personality and had a kind word for everyone.’
      • ‘As spiritual people, we need to reach out our hands to one another.’
      • ‘I have never met more spiritual people than those that have been sober a day at a time for a very long time.’
      • ‘Scientists are really some of the most spiritual people.’
      • ‘‘We just had a blast, but he is also a very intense spiritual person as well,’ she says.’
      • ‘She was studying at university in Manchester and had met gentle, quiet Pete, well over a foot taller than her, a ‘deeply spiritual guy with lovely eyes’.’
      • ‘‘We're spiritual people, but we've got our feet on the ground,’ Christophere explains.’
      • ‘I think back to the pastors and mentors who have made the most impact in my life and I would describe them as spiritual people.’
      • ‘It is full of thought, and she was an intellectual and spiritual person.’
      • ‘You're very much a spiritual person aren't you?’
      • ‘They are spiritual people - there is no doubt about that - but when it comes to doing business they know what they are doing.’
  • 2Relating to religion or religious belief.

    ‘the tribe's spiritual leader’
    • ‘Also, if you do have any personal spiritual or religious beliefs you could utilize them for protection and support.’
    • ‘Religious and spiritual beliefs are an important part of how many people deal with life's joys and hardships.’
    • ‘The womanist values women as spiritual leaders and prophets as well as teachers and mothers.’
    • ‘They are also less likely to get support from strong religious or spiritual beliefs.’
    • ‘I don't think there is any connection between religion and our spiritual journey.’
    • ‘Piece by piece I am finding aspects of religions or spiritual faiths that make sense to me.’
    • ‘Religious literature has long indicated that paranormal phenomena are associated with religious or spiritual beliefs.’
    • ‘Someone's religious or spiritual beliefs have absolutely nothing to do with whether a decision is made to prosecute.’
    • ‘In my 21 years in this House I have never heard a member get up and criticise the personal religious and spiritual beliefs of somebody else.’
    • ‘But little research on whether spiritual or religious beliefs alter the process of grief has been carried out.’
    • ‘Your spiritual and religious beliefs or philosophies may help you deal with your grief.’
    • ‘Ronny believes his mother's religious and spiritual beliefs are a sign of senility.’
    • ‘Some people abstain from sex because of religious or spiritual beliefs, or because of personal values.’
    • ‘Lately, however, methods have been developed to assess religiosity and spiritual beliefs.’
    • ‘These participants resorted to embracing some of the postmodern ideas but opted to maintain their religious or spiritual beliefs.’
    • ‘What was needed was a more spiritual sort of religion that offered no such crutches to lame practice.’
    • ‘While we respect religious creeds, spiritual leaders and church councils, none of these can bind our consciences or force us to believe or observe anything outside of Bible truth.’
    • ‘What happens to the religious or spiritual beliefs of soldiers when they go to battle?’
    • ‘The noun is designed to unite and give a positive connotation to people who do not have religious or spiritual beliefs.’
    • ‘Evidence is growing that spiritual belief and religious practice are important predictive factors for a larger proportion of people entering health care than previously thought.’
    religious, sacred, divine, holy, non-secular, church, churchly, ecclesiastic, devotional
    View synonyms


  • A religious song of a kind associated with black Christians of the southern US, and thought to derive from the combination of European hymns and African musical elements by black slaves.

    • ‘Thus, the uptown musician's instrumentation and timbre was heavily influenced by the vocal tradition of the work songs and spirituals of slavery, and, ultimately, by its African roots.’
    • ‘He builds substantial symphonic movements - often combining two different spirituals of similar lyric content and playing one off against the other.’
    • ‘One of our culture's most precious musical treasures is the large body of African American spirituals.’
    • ‘Heritage Music Press has created a winning collection of arrangements introducing piano students to our rich heritage of hymns and spirituals.’
    • ‘The music is the best thing about the film, which includes spirituals, work songs, a lullaby, and a great sequence in a saloon with honky-tonk jazz.’
    • ‘This is an audience-pleasing collection of American hymn tunes and spirituals in fresh and exciting new settings to third position.’
    • ‘The LaRouchies, a weird amalgam of far-right conspiracy theorists, have taken to singing black spirituals and Bach cantatas all over town.’
    • ‘The South Carolina Singing Men have been rendering choral, folk, classical tunes, and Black American spirituals, and the unique Handbell Ensemble compositions for over 25 years.’
    • ‘Taylor, a native of Vancouver who is known for her stunning voice in arias and Black spirituals, performs regularly at concerts, recitals, and special functions.’
    • ‘Through his listening to secular storytelling, religious preaching, slave songs, and spirituals, Douglass became educated in the oral tradition of slave culture.’
    • ‘Haven's own music, which combines spirituals, blues, ballads and contemporary pop songs, is a witness to our changing times.’
    • ‘The concerts will also include traditional pieces, spirituals, Christmas songs and carols.’
    • ‘Most were Baptist women who sang in their church choirs and were accustomed to singing songs similar to those sung by the movement choir, including spirituals and gospel hymns.’
    • ‘From the ‘sorrow songs’ to ragtime to the spirituals and the blues to jazz and gospel, black music has provided for the African American writer a springboard into culture and the contemporary experience.’
    • ‘Bragg describes how the spirituals of black slaves in the American South expressed not simply their hopes for the next world, but also the struggle to escape to the North and freedom.’
    • ‘One of the first, Songs of Zion was published by the United Methodist Church and contains a history of black music in addition to hymns, spirituals and gospel songs.’
    • ‘The director of today's Jubilee Singers, Kwami, a native of Ghana, says there is a definite similarity between the African American spirituals and the songs of his country.’
    • ‘The Cwmbach Male Voice Choir entertained with a traditional repertoire of Welsh hymns, spirituals and songs from opera and the shows.’
    • ‘Darden also tackles an old debate over whether spirituals were truly black inventions or merely adaptations of European music.’
    • ‘In this collection are old British and American ballads, Civil War songs, blues, frolic tunes, children's games, nonsense songs, lullabies, spirituals, and more.’


  • one's spiritual home

    • A place in which one feels a profound sense of belonging.

      ‘I had always thought of Italy as my spiritual home’
      • ‘The name was coined by pioneer Lach and, with the Side Walk Café becoming their spiritual home, anti-folk was born.’
      • ‘Now they are back at their spiritual home, a redeveloped Valley, solvent, competitive and stable.’
      • ‘Only once under Vogts, when Denmark won by a single goal in August, have his players been subjected to the pressure of playing at their spiritual home.’
      • ‘On Friday, Hearts chairman George Foulkes challenged McGrail and Deans to come up with a proposal which would keep the club at their spiritual home.’
      • ‘The Taliban was in total disarray and heading for the hills last night after losing control of Jalalabad and appearing to have been ousted from Kandahar, their spiritual home.’
      • ‘Football once again showed its power to unite last night as hundreds of Bradford City fans descended on their spiritual home as the club's desperate battle for survival stepped up a gear.’
      • ‘It's taken a long time to find my spiritual home.’
      • ‘‘In many ways the island is still my spiritual home,’ she says.’
      • ‘They feel that now is not the time to abandon the nation that, whether they like it or not, is their spiritual home.’
      • ‘In addition, extremists regard Egypt as their spiritual home.’
      • ‘Stars of the hit comedy Phoenix Nights returned to their spiritual home to take part in a fun-filled charity night.’
      • ‘Yet it is hardly likely that Lancashire members will want to sacrifice their spiritual home for two or three of these shows every year.’
      • ‘‘It's not my spiritual home,’ he confessed to the Diary.’
      • ‘Committee members are delighted that their new grounds will be so close to their spiritual home and work is expected to start in the immediate future.’
      • ‘Now, as the Olympics return to their spiritual home, the modern Olympic dream is that we can revert back to basics before idealism is completely snuffed out by cynicism.’
      • ‘As warm-up for Joan Rivers, the odd couple found their spiritual home on stage - as she put it, ‘the best opening act in their price range’.’
      • ‘If the decision is taken to remove the windows, then I hope a place can be provided within the Cathedral which is their spiritual home.’
      • ‘But the Taliban continued to cling on to Kandahar, their spiritual home in southern Afghanistan.’
      • ‘The 49-year-old mother-of-two said: ‘I'm delighted to be back behind the bar in an area that could be described as my spiritual home.’’
      • ‘The French always viewed this venue as their spiritual home and have been unbeaten there for 55 years.’


Middle English: from Old French spirituel, from Latin spiritualis, from spiritus (see spirit).