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In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government ought to be instructed... No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.
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1828 Noah Webster Dictionary
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spirit

SPIR'IT, n. [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. [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 act with spirit. Spirits, in the plural, is used in nearly a like sense. The troops began to recover their spirits.

3. Vigor of intellect; genius. His wit, his beauty and his spirit. The noblest spirit or genius cannot deserve enough of mankind to pretend to the esteem of heroic virtue.

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.

5. The soul of man; the intelligent, immaterial and immortal part of human beings. [See Soul.] the spirit shall return to God that gave it. Eceles. 12.

6. An immaterial intelligent substance. Spirit is a substance in which thinking, knowing, doubting, and a power of moving do subsist. Hence,

7. An immaterial intelligent being. By which he went and preached to the spirit in prison. I Pet. 3. God is a spirit. John 4.

8. Turn of mind; temper; occasions; state of the mind. A perfect judge will read each work of wit, with the same spirit that its author writ.

9. Powers of mind distinct from the body. In spirit perhaps he also saw Rich Mexico, the seat of Montezume.

10. Sentiment; perception. You spirit is too true, your fears too certain.

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.

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 come.

13. Persons distinguished by qualities of the mind. Such spirits as he desired to please, such would I choose for my judges.

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.

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.

16. Something eminently pure and refined. Nor doth the eye itself, that most pure spirit of sense, behold itself.

17. That which hath power or energy; the quality of any substance which manifest life, activity, or the power of strongly affecting other bodies; as the spirit of wine or of any liquor.

18. A strong, pungent or stimulation liquor, usually obtained by distillation, as rum, brandy, gin, whiskey. 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. Matt 26. Gal. 5.

21. The influences of the Holy Spirit. Matt. 22.



Evolution (or devolution) of this word [spirit]

1828 Webster1844 Webster1913 Webster

SPIR'IT, n. [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. [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 act with spirit. Spirits, in the plural, is used in nearly a like sense. The troops began to recover their spirits.

3. Vigor of intellect; genius. His wit, his beauty and his spirit. The noblest spirit or genius cannot deserve enough of mankind to pretend to the esteem of heroic virtue.

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.

5. The soul of man; the intelligent, immaterial and immortal part of human beings. [See Soul.] the spirit shall return to God that gave it. Eceles. 12.

6. An immaterial intelligent substance. Spirit is a substance in which thinking, knowing, doubting, and a power of moving do subsist. Hence,

7. An immaterial intelligent being. By which he went and preached to the spirit in prison. I Pet. 3. God is a spirit. John 4.

8. Turn of mind; temper; occasions; state of the mind. A perfect judge will read each work of wit, with the same spirit that its author writ.

9. Powers of mind distinct from the body. In spirit perhaps he also saw Rich Mexico, the seat of Montezume.

10. Sentiment; perception. You spirit is too true, your fears too certain.

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.

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 come.

13. Persons distinguished by qualities of the mind. Such spirits as he desired to please, such would I choose for my judges.

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.

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.

16. Something eminently pure and refined. Nor doth the eye itself, that most pure spirit of sense, behold itself.

17. That which hath power or energy; the quality of any substance which manifest life, activity, or the power of strongly affecting other bodies; as the spirit of wine or of any liquor.

18. A strong, pungent or stimulation liquor, usually obtained by distillation, as rum, brandy, gin, whiskey. 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. Matt 26. Gal. 5.

21. The influences of the Holy Spirit. Matt. 22.

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.

Spir"it
  1. Air set in motion by breathing; breath; hence, sometimes, life itself.

    [Obs.] "All of spirit would deprive." Spenser.

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

  2. To animate with vigor] to excite; to encourage; to inspirit; as, civil dissensions often spirit the ambition of private men; -- sometimes followed by up.

    Many officers and private men spirit up and assist those obstinate people to continue in their rebellion. Swift.

  3. 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. B. Jonson.

  4. To convey rapidly and secretly, or mysteriously, as if by the agency of a spirit; to kidnap; -- often with away, or off.

    The ministry had him spirited away, and carried abroad as a dangerous person. Arbuthnot *** Pope.

    I felt as if I had been spirited into some castle of antiquity. Willis.

    Spiriting away (Law), causing to leave] the offense of inducing a witness to leave a jurisdiction so as to evade process requiring attendance at trial.

  5. 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.
  6. 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. 8.

    As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. James ii. 26.

    Spirit is a substance wherein thinking, knowing, doubting, and a power of moving, do subsist. Locke.

  7. 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. Eccl. xii. 7.

    Ye gentle spirits far away,
    With whom we shared the cup of grace.
    Keble.

  8. Any supernatural being, good or bad; an apparition; a specter; a ghost; also, sometimes, a sprite,; a fairy; an elf.

    Whilst young, preserve his tender mind from all impressions of spirits and goblins in the dark. Locke.

  9. 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 expired. Fuller.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.
  13. Tenuous, volatile, airy, or vapory substance, possessed of active qualities.

    All bodies have spirits . . . within them. Bacon.

  14. Any liquid produced by distillation; especially, alcohol, the spirits, or spirit, of wine (it having been first distilled from wine): -- often in the plural.
  15. Rum, whisky, brandy, gin, and other distilled liquors having much alcohol, in distinction from wine and malt liquors.
  16. A solution in alcohol of a volatile principle. Cf. Tincture.

    U. S. Disp.
  17. Any one of the four substances, sulphur, sal ammoniac, quicksilver, or arsenic (or, according to some, orpiment).

    The four spirits and the bodies seven. Chaucer.

  18. Stannic chloride. See under Stannic.

    * 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. -- 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 (Zoöl.), 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. (Zoöl.) (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, 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. 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.) ether; -- often but incorrectly called sulphuric ether. See Ether. [Obs.] -- Spirits, 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.

    Syn. -- Life; ardor; energy; fire; courage; animatioon; cheerfulness; vivacity; enterprise.

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Spirit

SPIR'IT, noun [Latin 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. [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 act with spirit Spirits, in the plural, is used in nearly a like sense. The troops began to recover their spirits.

3. Vigor of intellect; genius. His wit, his beauty and his spirit The noblest spirit or genius cannot deserve enough of mankind to pretend to the esteem of heroic virtue.

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.

5. The soul of man; the intelligent, immaterial and immortal part of human beings. [See Soul.] the spirit shall return to God that gave it. Eceles. 12.

6. An immaterial intelligent substance. spirit is a substance in which thinking, knowing, doubting, and a power of moving do subsist. Hence,

7. An immaterial intelligent being. By which he went and preached to the spirit in prison. I Pet. 3. God is a spirit John 4:23.

8. Turn of mind; temper; occasions; state of the mind. A perfect judge will read each work of wit, with the same spirit that its author writ.

9. Powers of mind distinct from the body. In spirit perhaps he also saw Rich Mexico, the seat of Montezume.

10. Sentiment; perception. You spirit is too true, your fears too certain.

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.

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 come.

13. Persons distinguished by qualities of the mind. Such spirits as he desired to please, such would I choose for my judges.

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.

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.

16. Something eminently pure and refined. Nor doth the eye itself, that most pure spirit of sense, behold itself.

17. That which hath power or energy; the quality of any substance which manifest life, activity, or the power of strongly affecting other bodies; as the spirit of wine or of any liquor.

18. A strong, pungent or stimulation liquor, usually obtained by distillation, as rum, brandy, gin, whiskey. 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 etc.

19. An apparition; a ghost.

20. The renewed nature of man. Matthew 26:41. Galatians 5:5.

21. The influences of the Holy spirit Matthew 22:43.

HOLY SPIRIT, the third person in the Trinity.

SPIRIT, verb transitive

1. To animate; to actuate; as a spirit

So talkd the spirited sly snake. [Little used.]

2. To animate with vigor; to excite; to encourage; as, civil dissensions spirit the ambition of private man.

It is sometimes followed by up; as, to spirit up.

3. To kidnap.

To spirit away, to entice or seduce.

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importance

IMPORT'ANCE, n.

1. Weight; consequence; a bearing on some interest; that quality of any thing by which it may affect a measure, interest or result. The education of youth is of great importance to a free government. A religious education is of infinite importance to every human being.

2. Weight or consequence in the scale of being.

Thy own importance know.

Nor bound thy narrow views to things below.

3. Weight or consequence in self-estimation.

He believes himself a man of importance.

4. Thing implied; matter; subject; importunity. [In these senses, obsolete.]

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bumpkin

BUMP'KIN, n. [bump, large, swelling.] An awkward heavy rustic; a clown, or country lout.

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