The Spirit


The Spirit
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.'' --Spenser. [1913 Webster]

The mild air, with season moderate, Gently attempered, and disposed eo well, That still it breathed foorth sweet spirit. --Spenser. [1913 Webster]

2. A rough breathing; an aspirate, as the letter h; also, a mark to denote aspiration; a breathing. [Obs.] [1913 Webster]

Be it a letter or spirit, we have great use for it. --B. Jonson. [1913 Webster]

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. [1913 Webster]

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. [1913 Webster]

There is a spirit in man; and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding. --Job xxxii. 8. [1913 Webster]

As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. --James ii. 26. [1913 Webster]

Spirit is a substance wherein thinking, knowing, doubting, and a power of moving, do subsist. --Locke. [1913 Webster]

5. Specifically, a disembodied soul; the human soul after it has left the body. [1913 Webster]

Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was, and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it. --Eccl. xii. 7. [1913 Webster]

Ye gentle spirits far away, With whom we shared the cup of grace. --Keble. [1913 Webster]

6. Any supernatural being, good or bad; an apparition; a specter; a ghost; also, sometimes, a sprite,; a fairy; an elf. [1913 Webster]

Whilst young, preserve his tender mind from all impressions of spirits and goblins in the dark. --Locke. [1913 Webster]

7. Energy, vivacity, ardor, enthusiasm, courage, etc. [1913 Webster]

``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 expired. --Fuller. [1913 Webster]

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. [1913 Webster]

Such spirits as he desired to please, such would I choose for my judges. --Dryden. [1913 Webster]

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. [1913 Webster]

God has . . . made a spirit of building succeed a spirit of pulling down. --South. [1913 Webster]

A perfect judge will read each work of wit With the same spirit that its author writ. --Pope. [1913 Webster]

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. [1913 Webster]

11. Tenuous, volatile, airy, or vapory substance, possessed of active qualities. [1913 Webster]

All bodies have spirits . . . within them. --Bacon. [1913 Webster]

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. [1913 Webster]

13. pl. Rum, whisky, brandy, gin, and other distilled liquors having much alcohol, in distinction from wine and malt liquors. [1913 Webster]

14. (Med.) A solution in alcohol of a volatile principle. Cf. {Tincture}. --U. S. Disp. [1913 Webster]

15. (Alchemy) Any one of the four substances, sulphur, sal ammoniac, quicksilver, or arsenic (or, according to some, orpiment). [1913 Webster]

The four spirits and the bodies seven. --Chaucer. [1913 Webster]

16. (Dyeing) Stannic chloride. See under {Stannic}. [1913 Webster]

Note: Spirit is sometimes joined with other words, forming compounds, generally of obvious signification; as, spirit-moving, spirit-searching, spirit-stirring, etc. [1913 Webster]

{Astral spirits}, {Familiar spirits}, etc. See under {Astral}, {Familiar}, etc.

{Animal spirits}. (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; sportiveness.

{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} (Zo["o]l.), any one of numerous species of delicate butterflies of tropical America belonging to the genus {Ithomia}. The wings are gauzy and nearly destitute of scales.

{Spirit duck}. (Zo["o]l.) (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 Augsburg.

{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.] --Shak.

{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 vitriol. [Obs.]

{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 wine.

{Spirit rapper}, one who practices spirit rapping; a ``medium'' so called.

{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}, above. [1913 Webster]

Syn: Life; ardor; energy; fire; courage; animatioon; cheerfulness; vivacity; enterprise. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

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