Meaning of “spirit” in the English Dictionary

"spirit" in English

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uk /ˈspɪr.ɪt/ us /ˈspɪr.ət/

spirit 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."

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spirit noun (NOT BODY)

C1 [ U ] the characteristics of a person that are considered as being separate from the body, and that many religions believe continue to exist after the body dies:

Although he's now living in America, I feel he's with me in spirit (= I feel he is present and is influencing me, in a way that is not physical).

B2 [ C ] the form of a dead person, similar to a ghost, or the feeling that a dead person is present although you cannot see them:

an evil spirit
The spirits of long-dead warriors seemed to haunt the area.

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spirit noun (ALCOHOL)

C1 [ C or U ] a strong alcoholic drink:

Vodka is a type of spirit.
Spirits are more expensive than beer, but they get you drunk faster.

[ U ] Some types of spirit are alcoholic liquids used especially for cleaning, mixing with paint, etc.:

Thin the paint with white spirit.


uk /ˈspɪr.ɪt/ us /ˈspɪr.ət/

(Definition of “spirit” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"spirit" in American English

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us /ˈspɪr·ɪt/

spirit noun (STATE OF MIND)

[ U ] a state of mind or attitude:

It’s very important to play the game in the right spirit.
Rock music in the 1960s expressed the spirit of the times.

spirit noun (INNER CHARACTER)

[ C/U ] the inner character of a person, thought of as different from the material person we can see and touch:

[ U ] All her life she remained young in spirit, bubbling with ideas.
[ C ] It is a belief of many religions that your spirit lives on after your body dies.

[ C/U ] A spirit is also something that can be felt to be present but cannot be seen, similar to a ghost.

spirit noun (ENTHUSIASM)

[ U ] enthusiasm and energy:

The orchestra performed the symphony with great spirit.

spiritverb [ T always + adv/prep ]

us /ˈspɪr·ɪt/

spirit verb [ T always + adv/prep ] (MOVE)

to move someone or something secretly:

[ M ] Everyone wonders who spirited away the body.

(Definition of “spirit” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)