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spirit [noun] (WAY OF FEELING)

a particular way of thinking, feeling, or behaving, especially a way that is typical of a particular group of people, an activity, a time, or a place

US /ˈspɪr.ət/ 
UK /ˈspɪr.ɪt/ 

روح‌، روان‌


The players have a very strong team spirit (= loyalty to each other) .

Oxford Essential Dictionary



1 the part of a person that is not the body. Some people think that your spirit does not die when your body dies.

2 spirits (plural) strong alcoholic drinks such as whisky

3 spirits (plural) the way that a person feels:
She's in high spirits (= happy) today.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English


I. spirit1 S2 W2 /ˈspɪrət, ˈspɪrɪt/ BrE AmE noun
[Date: 1200-1300; Language: Anglo-French; Origin: Latin spiritus 'breath, spirit']
1. CHARACTER [singular, uncountable] 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)
2. HAPPY/SAD spirits [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)
Cooper 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 sb’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).
sb’s spirits rise/lift/sink (=they become more or less happy)
My spirits sank when I saw the mess they’d left.
3. SOUL [countable] 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.
4. NO BODY [countable] 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:
an evil spirit
5. DETERMINATION [uncountable] courage, energy, and determination – used 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).
6. ATTITUDE [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
7. team/community/public etc spirit a strong feeling of belonging to a particular group and wanting to help them
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. INTENTION [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)
12. the Spirit the ↑Holy Spirit
13. DRINK [countable usually plural]
a) especially British English a strong alcoholic drink such as ↑whisky or ↑brandy
b) British English liquid such as alcohol, used for cleaning
14. that’s the spirit spoken used to express approval of someone’s behaviour or attitude
15. when/as the spirit moves you when you feel that you want to do something
16. 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
• • •
COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 2)
■ adjectives
high/good (=used when saying that someone is happy and excited) The players were all in high spirits.
low/flagging (=used when saying that someone is sad) She was tired and her spirits were low.
■ verbs
lift/raise/revive sb’s spirits (=make them feel happier) A brisk walk helped to lift my spirits.
keep sb’s spirits up (=keep them feeling happy) He wrote home often, trying to keep his family’s spirits up.
dampen sb’s spirits (=make them feel less happy) They refused to let the rain dampen their spirits.
sb’s spirits rise/lift/soar (=they start feeling happier) Her spirits rose as they left the ugliness of London behind.
sb’s spirits sink (=they start feeling less happy) His spirits sank at the prospect.
• • •
ghost the spirit of a dead person that some people think they can feel or see in a place: His ghost is believed to haunt the house.
spirit a creature without a physical body, such as an angel or ghost: evil spirits | the spirit world
apparition an image of a dead person that someone sees suddenly for a short time: He claimed to have seen an apparition in the church.
poltergeist a ghost that people cannot see, which throws things or moves things around: The house was haunted by a poltergeist that makes things move around all by themselves, sometimes quite big things like beds or wardrobes.
spook informal a ghost: I’m not scared of spooks.
phantom literary a frightening and unclear image of a dead person: They had seen phantoms gliding on the surface of the water.
spectre British English, specter American English literary a ghost, especially a frightening one: She had looked like a spectre. | The following night, the spectre appeared again.
II. spirit2 BrE AmE verb
spirit somebody/something away/off phrasal verb written
to take someone or something away quickly and secretly:
After his speech, Jackson was spirited away through a back door.

Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



spirit [spirit spirits spirited spiriting] noun, verb   [ˈspɪrɪt]    [ˈspɪrɪt] 





1. uncountable, countable the part of a person that includes their mind, feelings and character rather than their body

• the power of the human spirit to overcome difficulties

2. spirits plural a person's feelings or state of mind
to be in high/low spirits
You must try and keep your spirits up (= stay cheerful).

• My spirits sank at the prospect of starting all over again.

3. countable (always with an adjective) a person of the type mentioned
a brave spirit
kindred spirits (= people who like the same things as you)

see also  free spirit  




4. uncountable courage, determination or energy
Show a little fighting spirit.
• Although the team lost, they played with tremendous spirit.

• They took away his freedom and broke his spirit.  




5. uncountable, singular loyal feelings towards a group, team or society
There's not much community spirit around here.

see also  team spirit  




6. singular a state of mind or mood; an attitude
We approached the situation in the wrong spirit.
‘OK, I'll try’. ‘ That's the spirit (= the right attitude).’
The party went well because everyone entered into the spirit of things.

see also  party spirit  




7. singular the typical or most important quality or mood of sth

• The exhibition captures the spirit of the age/times.  




8. uncountable the real or intended meaning or purpose of sth

• Obey the spirit, not the letter (= the narrow meaning of the words) of the law.  




9. countable the soul thought of as separate from the body and believed to live on after death; a ghost
He is dead, but his spirit lives on.
• It was believed that people could be possessed by evil spirits.

see also  Holy Spirit  





10. countable (old-fashioned) an imaginary creature with magic powers, for example, a fairy or an elf  


11. countable, usually plural (especially BrE) a strong alcoholic drink

• I don't drink whisky or brandy or any other spirits.

12. uncountable a special type of alcohol used in industry or medicine
see also  methylated spirit, surgical spirit, white spirit 
more at fighting spirit at  fight  v., raise sb's spirits at  raise  v.  
Word Origin:
Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French, from Latin spiritus ‘breath, spirit’, from spirare ‘breathe’.  
spirit noun
1. C
He is dead, but his spirit lives on.
soulmindthe/your subconscious|psychology ego
human spirit/soul/mind
Soul or spirit? Spirit is a more positive word than soul. We talk about lost/tormented/troubled souls but the power of the human spirit.
2. spirits pl.
She was tired and in low spirits.
moralemoodframe of mind
in (a) (good/better, etc.) spirits/mood/frame of mind
sb's spirits are/morale is high/low
lift/raise sb's spirits/morale
3. U (approving)
Show some fighting spirit.
determinationperseverancepersistencepurpose|formal resolvetenacity
great spirit/determination/perseverance/persistence/purpose/resolve/tenacity
show (your) spirit/determination/persistence/resolve/tenacity
have spirit/determination/perseverance/persistence/purpose/tenacity
4. C
possessed by evil spirits
ghost|especially written apparition
see a/an spirit/ghost/apparition
a/an spirit/ghost/apparition haunts sb
a spirit/ghost appears  
Example Bank:
Both sides have come together in a spirit of goodwill.
He found kindred spirits in the peace movement.
He sang with great spirit.
He's got the right spirit!
I was just getting to the spirit of things when the party suddenly ended.
I will be with you in spirit.
I'm trying to get in the spirit of the holiday season.
It is a testimony to the triumph of the human spirit.
Make a donation to the charity if the spirit moves you.
Many people believe the spirit lives on after death.
My mother was in excellent spirits.
My spirit guide cares for me and protects me.
Owls were believed to be restless spirits who had returned to earth.
She embodies the spirit of revolution.
She exudes a warmth and generosity of spirit.
She has plenty of fighting spirit.
She isn't in the best of spirits today.
She slept with a cross under the pillow to ward off evil spirits.
She was a guiding spirit in primary education.
That song really captures the spirit of the times.
The movie is true to the spirit of the book.
The referee should try to obey the spirit as well as the letter of the law.
They are all working together in a spirit of cooperation.
They brought the spirit of carnival to their concerts.
They have the right spirit!
They tortured him until he was broken in spirit.
We sang songs to keep our spirits up.
a single measure of spirits
a spirit of adventure
an edict that violates the spirit of the Geneva Convention
healing for body, mind and spirit
the indomitable American spirit
A standard measure of spirits is 25ml.
He felt a kind of lightness in his spirit as the sun came up.
His poetry summed up the spirit of the age.
I don't drink whisky or brandy or any other spirits.
It seemed to fit in with the spirit of the festival.
It was believed that people could be possessed by evil spirits.
Show a little fighting spirit.
The exhibition captures the spirit of the Swinging Sixties.
• You are underestimating the power of the human spirit to overcome difficulties.

Idioms: as the spirit moves you  in spirit  spirit is willing 

Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary

Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary - 4th Edition

spirit / ˈspɪr.ɪt / noun (WAY OF FEELING)

B2 [ S or U ] a particular way of thinking, feeling, or behaving, especially a way that is typical of a particular group of people, an activity, a time, or a place:

The players have a very strong team spirit (= loyalty to each other) .

As rock musicians in the 1960s, they were very much part of the spirit of the age/times .

We acted in a spirit of cooperation.

spirits B2 [ plural ] the way a person is feeling:

I've been in high/low spirits (= feeling happy/sad) lately.

Her spirits lifted/rose (= she felt happier) as she read the letter.

The negative reply dashed his spirits (= made him unhappy) .

the spirit of a law, rule, etc. the principle that a law, rule, etc. was created to make stronger, rather than the particular things it says you must or must not do:

They followed neither the spirit nor the letter of the law.

enter/get into the spirit to show enthusiasm and enjoyment:

They went to the tennis club a few times but never really got into the spirit of it.

that's the spirit used to approve or encourage someone's positive attitude (= way of thinking) or action:

"Come on, we can win this game." "That's the spirit."

© Cambridge University Press 2013

Collins Advanced Learner’s English Dictionary


 spirits, spiriting, spirited

 1) N-SING Your spirit is the part of you that is not physical and that consists of your character and feelings.
 → See also kindred spirit
  The human spirit is virtually indestructible...
  Marian retains a restless, youthful spirit, in search of new horizons.
 2) N-COUNT: usu poss N A person's spirit is the non-physical part of them that is believed to remain alive after their death.
  His spirit has left him and all that remains is the shell of his body.
 3) N-COUNT A spirit is a ghost or supernatural being.
 → See also Holy Spirit
  In the Middle Ages branches were hung outside country houses as a protection against evil spirits.
 4) N-UNCOUNT Spirit is the courage and determination that helps people to survive in difficult times and to keep their way of life and their beliefs.
  She was a very brave girl and everyone who knew her admired her spirit.
 5) N-UNCOUNT Spirit is the liveliness and energy that someone shows in what they do.
  They played with spirit.
 6) N-SING The spirit in which you do something is the attitude you have when you are doing it.
  Their problem can only be solved in a spirit of compromise...
  They approached the talks in a conciliatory spirit.
 7) N-UNCOUNT: usu with supp, oft n N A particular kind of spirit is the feeling of loyalty to a group that is shared by the people who belong to the group.
  There is a great sense of team spirit among the British Olympic squad...
  The president has appealed to the Brazilian people for patriotism and community spirit.
 8) N-SING A particular kind of spirit is the set of ideas, beliefs, and aims that are held by a group of people.
  ...the real spirit of the Labour movement.
 9) N-SING: the N of n The spirit of something such as a law or an agreement is the way that it was intended to be interpreted or applied.
  The requirement for work permits violates the spirit of the 1950 treaty.
 10) N-COUNT: usu adj N You can refer to a person as a particular kind of spirit if they show a certain characteristic or if they show a lot of enthusiasm in what they are doing.
  I like to think of myself as a free spirit...
  He was the founder and guiding spirit of New York's Shakespeare Festival.
 11) N-PLURAL Your spirits are your feelings at a particular time, especially feelings of happiness or unhappiness.
  At supper, everyone was in high spirits...
  A bit of exercise will help lift his spirits.
 12) VERB If someone or something is spirited away, or if they are spirited out of somewhere, they are taken from a place quickly and secretly without anyone noticing. [WRITTEN]
  [be V-ed away] He was spirited away and probably murdered...
  [V n away] His parents had spirited him away to the country...
  [be V-ed prep/adv] It is possible that he has been spirited out of the country.
 13) N-PLURAL Spirits are strong alcoholic drinks such as whisky and gin.
 14) N-UNCOUNT Spirit or spirits is an alcoholic liquid that is used as a fuel, for cleaning things, or for other purposes. There are many kinds of spirit.
 → See also methylated spirits, surgical spirit
 15) PHRASE: V inflects If you enter into the spirit of something, you take part in it in an enthusiastic way.
 16) PHRASE: PHR with cl If you say you are somewhere in spirit or with someone in spirit, you mean that although you are not with them, you feel as though you are with them because you are thinking about them a lot.
  In spirit I was with you here.
 17) PHRASE: adj PHR You use in spirit when you are talking about someone's true nature.
  They seemed close in spirit to those first independent-minded Turkish women who took professions...
  It is independent in spirit.
 18) PHRASE The spirit of the age or the spirit of the times is the set of ideas, beliefs, and aims that is typical of people in a particular period in history.

Merriam-Webster's Advanced Learner's Dictionary

1spir·it /ˈspirət/ noun, pl -its
1 a : the force within a person that is believed to give the body life, energy, and power


• the spirits of my ancestors
• Some religions believe that the same spirit is reincarnated many times in different bodies.


• Yoga is very healthy for both body and spirit.
• I'm sorry I can't make it to your wedding, but I'll be there in spirit. [=I will be thinking about you]
b [count] : the inner quality or nature of a person
• He still has a curious and youthful spirit. [=he is still a curious and youthful person]
• We will all miss her generous spirit.
2 [count] : a person
• My father was a proud spirit.
• They are kindred spirits. [=people with similar interests or concerns]
- see also free spirit
3 a [count] : ghost
• evil spirits
b the Spirit : holy spirit
4 a : a desire or determination to do something


• His many disappointments never broke his spirit. [=never took away his desire to succeed]
• He has a strong fighting spirit.


• She's a good athlete with a lot of skill and spirit.
b [noncount] : enthusiastic loyalty
• The students showed their school spirit by having a rally to support the football team.
5 [singular]
a : the attitude or feeling that a person has about a particular job, activity, etc.
• He didn't approach the work in/with the right spirit.
b : a shared attitude or feeling that relates to a particular time, place, activity, etc. - often + of
• the spirit of the times
• a new spirit of cooperation
• the spirit of competition
• We all got/entered into the spirit of the holidays.
• You'd have more fun if you'd just relax and get into the spirit of things.
6 spirits [plural] : feelings of happiness or unhappiness
Spirits were low [=people were unhappy] after our team lost again.
• We need to do something to lift your spirits. [=to make you feel better/happier]
• It's hard work, but try to keep your spirits up. [=keep a happy and positive attitude]
• We were all in high spirits [=happy, cheerful] after the game.
• She was in low spirits. [=she was unhappy]
• He's still in the hospital, but he's in good spirits. [=happy and positive]
- see also high-spirited, low-spirited
7 [noncount] : the real meaning or intention of something (such as a law)
• They seem to be more concerned with obeying the letter of the law than with understanding the spirit of the law. [=what was intended by the law when it was written]
8 spirits [plural] : strong alcoholic drinks : liquor
• The store sells wines and spirits.
as/when the spirit moves you : when you feel like it : when the time is right
• I'll write when the spirit moves me.
moving spirit
- see moving
that's the spirit informal
- used to express approval of someone's attitude
• “I know I can do it if I keep trying.” “Yeah, that's the spirit!” [=that's the right attitude to have]
the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak
- used to say that you want to do something but you cannot because you do not have the strength or energy; often used humorously
• I try to get up early and exercise, though sometimes the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

- see also surgical spirit, white spirit