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SPIR'A-CLE, n. [L. spiraculum, from spiro, to breathe.]

  1. A small aperture in animal and vegetable bodies, by which air or other fluid is exhaled or inhaled; a small hole, orifice or vent; a pore; a minute passage; as, the spiracle of the human skin.
  2. Any small aperture, hole or vent. – Woodward.

SPI'RAL, a. [It. spirale; Fr. spiral; from L. spira, a spire.]

Winding round a cylinder or other round body, or in a circular form, and at the same time rising or advancing forward; winding like a screw. The magnificent column in the Place Vendome, at Paris, is divided by a spiral line into compartments. It is formed with spiral compartments, on which are engraved figures emblematical of the victories of the French armies. A whirlwind is so named from the spiral motion of the air.


Coated spirally. – Smith.

SPI'RAL-LY, adv.

In a spiral form or direction; in the manner of a screw.

SPI-RA'TION, n. [L. spiratio.]

A breathing. [Not used.] – Barrow.

SPIRE, n. [L. spira; Gr. σπειρα; Sp. espira; from the root of L. spiro, to breathe. The primary sense of the root is to throw, to drive, to send, but it implies a winding motion, like throw, warp, and many others.]

  1. A winding line like the threads of a screw; any thing wreathed or contorted; a curl; a twist; a wreath. His neck erect amidst his circling spires. – Milton. A dragon's fiery form belied the god; / Sublime on radiant spires he rode. – Dryden.
  2. A body that shoots up to a point; a tapering body; a round pyramid or pyramidical body; a steeple. With glist'ring spires and pinnacles adorn'd. – Milton.
  3. A stalk or blade of grass or other plant. How humble ought man to be, who can not make a single spire of grass.
  4. The top or uppermost point of a thing. – Shak.

SPIRE, v.i.

  1. To shoot; to shoot up pyramidically. – Mortimer.
  2. To breathe. [Not in rue.]
  3. To sprout, as grain in malting.


Having a spire. – Mason.


The name of an extinct genus of mollusks, having a shell with two internal calcarious spiral appendages. – Brande.

SPIR'IT, n. [Fr. esprit; It. spirito; Sp. espiritu; L. spiritus, from spiro, to breathe, to blow. The primary sense is to rush or drive.]

  1. Primarily, wind; air in motion; hence, breath. All bodies have spirits and pneumatical parts within them. – Bacon. [This sense is now unusual.]
  2. Animal excitement, or the effect of it; life; ardor; fire; courage; elevation or vehemence of mind. The troops attacked the enemy with great spirit. The young man has the spirit of youth. He speaks or acts with spirit. Spirits, in the plural, is used in nearly a like sense. The troops began to recover their spirits. – Swift.
  3. Vigor of intellect; genius. His wit, his beauty, and his spirit. – Butler. The noblest spirit or genius can not deserve enough of mankind to pretend to the esteem of heroic virtue. – Temple.
  4. Temper; disposition of mind, habitual or temporary; as, a man of a generous spirit, or of a revengeful spirit; the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit. Let us go to the house of God in the spirit of prayer. – Bickersteth.
  5. The soul of man; the intelligent, immaterial and immortal part of human beings. [See Soul.] The spirit shall return to nod that gave it. – Eccles. xii.
  6. An immaterial intelligent substance. Spirit is a substance in which thinking, knowing, doubting, and a power of moving do subsist. – Locke. Hence,
  7. An immaterial intelligent being. By which he went and preached to the spirits in prison. – 1 Pet. iii. God is a spirit. – John iv.
  8. Turn of mind; temper; occasional state of the mind. A perfect judge will read each work of wit, / With the same spirit that its author writ. – Pope.
  9. Powers of mind distinct from the body. In spirit perhaps he also saw / Rich Mexico, the seat of Montezume. – Milton.
  10. Sentiment; perception. Your spirit is too true, your fears too certain. – Shak.
  11. Eager desire; disposition of mind excited and directed to a particular object. God has made a spirit of building succeed a spirit of pulling down. – South.
  12. A person of activity; a man of life, vigor or enterprise. The watery kingdom is no bar / To stop the foreign spirits, but they came. – Shak.
  13. Persons distinguished by qualities of the mind. Such spirits as he desired to please, such would I choose for my judges. – Dryden.
  14. Excitement of mind; animation; cheerfulness; usually in the plural. We found our friend in very good spirits. He has a great flow of spirits. To sing thy praise, would heaven my breath prolong / Infusing spirits worthy such a song. – Dryden.
  15. Life or strength of resemblance; essential qualities; as to set off the face in its true spirit. The copy has not the, spirit of the original. – Wotton.
  16. Something eminently pure and refined. Nor doth the eye itself, / That most pure spirit of sense, behold itself. – Shak.
  17. That which hath power or energy; the quality of any substance which manifests life, activity, or the power of strongly affecting other bodies; as, the spirit of wine or of any liquor.
  18. A strong, pungent liquor, usually obtained by distillation, as rum, brandy, gin, whisky. In America, spirit, used without other words explanatory of its meaning, signifies the liquor distilled from cane juice, or rum. We say, new spirit, or old spirit, Jamaica spirit, &c.
  19. An apparition; a ghost.
  20. The renewed nature of man. – Matth. xxxi. Gal. v.
  21. The influences of the Holy Spirit. – Matth. xxii. Holy Spirit, the third person in the Trinity.

SPIR'IT, v.t.

  1. To animate; to actuate; as a spirit. So talk'd the spirited sly snake. [Little used.] – Milton.
  2. To animate with vigor; to excite; to encourage; as, civil dissensions spirit the ambition of private men. – Swift. It is sometimes followed by up; as, to spirit up. – Middleton.
  3. To kidnap. Blackstone. To spirit away, to entice or seduce.


By means of the breath. [Not in use.] – Holder.


  1. Animated; encouraged; incited.
  2. adj. Animated; full of life; lively; full of spirit or fire; as, a spirited address or oration; a spirited answer. It is used in composition, noting the state of the mind; as, in high spirited low-spirited, mean-spirited.


In a lively manner; as, with spirit; with strength; with animation.


  1. Life; animation.
  2. Disposition or make of mind; used in compounds; high-spiritedness, low spiritedness, mean-spiritedness, narrow spiritedness.


Lively; full of spirit. [Not used.] – Ash.


In a lively manner. [Not used.]


Liveliness; sprightliness. [Not used.] – Harvey.


Animating; actuating.


  1. Destitute of spirits; wanting animation; wanting cheerfulness; dejected; depressed.
  2. Destitute of vigor; wanting life, courage or fire; as, a spiritless slave. A man so faint, so spiritless, / So dull, so dead in look. – Shak.
  3. Having no breath; extinct; dead. – Greenhill.


Without spirit; without exertion. – More.


Dullness; want of life or vigor.


  1. Like spirit; refined; defecated; pure. More refin'd, more spiritous and pure. – Milton.
  2. Fine; ardent; active. – Smith.


A refined state; fineness and activity of parts; as, the thinness and spiritedness of liquor. – Boyle.


Piercing the spirit.