2 [in singular] the prevailing or typical quality, mood, or attitude of a person, group, or period of time:I hope the team will build on this spirit of confidencethe university is a symbol of the nation’s egalitarian spirit
[with adjective] a person identified with their most prominent quality or with their role in a group or movement:he was a leading spirit in the conference
(often spirits) a person’s mood or attitude:the warm weather lifted everyone’s spiritshe confessed in a spirit of self-respect
[mass noun] the quality of courage, energy, and determination:his visitors admired his spirit and good temper
3the real meaning or the intention behind something as opposed to its strict verbal interpretation:the rule had been broken in spirit if not in letter
4 (usually spirits) chiefly British strong distilled alcoholic drink such as brandy, whisky, gin, or rum.
[mass noun, with modifier] a volatile liquid, especially a fuel, prepared by distillation:aviation spirit
archaic a solution of volatile components extracted from something, typically by distillation or by solution in alcohol:spirits of turpentine
5 archaic a highly refined substance or fluid thought to govern vital phenomena.
1 [with object and adverbial of direction] convey rapidly and secretly:stolen cows were spirited away some distance to prevent detection
enter into the spirit
join wholeheartedly in an event, especially one of celebration and festivity:he entered into the spirit of the occasion by dressing as a pierrot
in (or in the) spirit
in thought or intention though not physically:he couldn’t be here in person, but he is with us in spirit
the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak
proverb someone has good intentions but fails to live up to them.
[with biblical allusion to Matt. 26:41]
when the spirit moves someone
when someone feels inclined to do something:he can be quite candid when the spirit moves him
[a phrase originally in Quaker use, with reference to the Holy Spirit]
the spirit world
(in animistic and occult belief) the non-physical realm in which disembodied spirits have their existence.
spirit someone up
archaic stimulate, animate, or cheer up someone:well, I shall spirit up the Colonel as soon as I can