The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Spirit \Spir"it\, n. [OF. espirit, esperit, F. esprit, L.
spiritus, from spirare to breathe, to blow. Cf. Conspire,
Expire, Esprit, Sprite.]
1. Air set in motion by breathing; breath; hence, sometimes,
life itself. [Obs.] "All of spirit would deprive."
The mild air, with season moderate,
Gently attempered, and disposed eo well,
That still it breathed foorth sweet spirit.
2. A rough breathing; an aspirate, as the letter h; also, a
mark to denote aspiration; a breathing. [Obs.]
Be it a letter or spirit, we have great use for it.
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.
As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith
without works is dead also. --James ii.
Spirit is a substance wherein thinking, knowing,
doubting, and a power of moving, do subsist.
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.
Ye gentle spirits 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
Whilst young, preserve his tender mind from all
impressions of spirits and goblins in the dark.
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
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): -- often in the plural.
13. pl. Rum, whisky, brandy, gin, and other distilled liquors
having much alcohol, in distinction from wine and malt
14. (Med.) A solution in alcohol of a volatile principle. Cf.
Tincture. --U. S. Disp.
15. (Alchemy) Any one of the four substances, sulphur, sal
ammoniac, quicksilver, or arsenic (or, according to some,
The four spirits and the bodies seven. --Chaucer.
16. (Dyeing) Stannic chloride. See under Stannic.
Note: 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 under
Astral, Familiar, etc.
(a) (Physiol.) The fluid which at one time was supposed
to circulate through the nerves and was regarded as
the agent of sensation and motion; -- called also the
nervous fluid, or nervous principle.
(b) Physical health and energy; frolicsomeness;
Ardent spirits, strong alcoholic liquors, as brandy, rum,
whisky, etc., obtained by distillation.
Holy Spirit, or The Spirit (Theol.), the Spirit of God,
or the third person of the Trinity; the Holy Ghost. The
spirit also signifies the human spirit as influenced or
animated by the Divine Spirit.
Proof spirit. (Chem.) See under Proof.
Rectified spirit (Chem.), spirit rendered purer or more
concentrated by redistillation, so as to increase the
percentage of absolute alcohol.
Spirit butterfly (Zool.), any one of numerous species of
delicate butterflies of tropical America belonging to the
genus Ithomia. The wings are gauzy and nearly destitute
Spirit duck. (Zool.)
(a) The buffle-headed duck.
(b) The golden-eye.
Spirit lamp (Art), a lamp in which alcohol or methylated
spirit is burned.
Spirit level. See under Level.
Spirit of hartshorn. (Old Chem.) See under Hartshorn.
Spirit of Mindererus (Med.), an aqueous solution of acetate
of ammonium; -- named after R. Minderer, physician of
Spirit of nitrous ether (Med. Chem.), a pale yellow liquid,
of a sweetish taste and a pleasant ethereal odor. It is
obtained by the distillation of alcohol with nitric and
sulphuric acids, and consists essentially of ethyl nitrite
with a little acetic aldehyde. It is used as a
diaphoretic, diuretic, antispasmodic, etc. Called also
sweet spirit of niter.
Spirit of salt (Chem.), hydrochloric acid; -- so called
because obtained from salt and sulphuric acid. [Obs.]
Spirit of sense, the utmost refinement of sensation. [Obs.]
Spirits of turpentine, or Spirit of turpentine (Chem.),
rectified oil of turpentine, a transparent, colorless,
volatile, and very inflammable liquid, distilled from the
turpentine of the various species of pine; camphine. It is
commonly used to remove paint from surfaces, or to dissole
oil-based paint. See Camphine.
Spirit of vitriol (Chem.), sulphuric acid; -- so called
because formerly obtained by the distillation of green
Spirit of vitriolic ether (Chem.) ethyl ether; -- often but
incorrectly called sulphuric ether. See Ether. [Obs.]
Spirits of wine, or Spirit of wine (Chem.), alcohol; --
so called because formerly obtained by the distillation of
Spirit rapper, one who practices spirit rapping; a "medium"
Spirit rapping, an alleged form of communication with the
spirits of the dead by raps. See Spiritualism, 3.
Sweet spirit of niter. See Spirit of nitrous ether,
Syn: Life; ardor; energy; fire; courage; animatioon;
cheerfulness; vivacity; enterprise.