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The Definition Of The Word 'Spirit' - Essay Example

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Being a homonym, the word ‘spirit’ is used to convey more than one meaning. The writer of the paper "The Definition Of The Word 'Spirit'" gives information about Origin of the word, different meanings of it and uses of the word ‘spirit’ in the English language…
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The Definition Of The Word Spirit
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The Definition Of The Word 'Spirit'

The American heritage dictionary (2009) defines spirit as ‘The vital principle or animating force within living beings’. Spirit is somewhat similar to but not the same as ‘soul’ considered departing the human body at the time of death. The term spirit took its present form during the middle stages of evolution in the English language. The term was derived from the French word ‘espirit’, which in turn was derived from Latin word ‘spiritus’, meaning breathes (The American Heritage Dictionary, 2009). Spirit has no solid or physical form. The only form it takes is when it combines with matter, and that is the form of a living being. Consciousness cannot pertain to a spirit unless through the means of matter (Theosophy, 1966). In the metaphysical context, the spirit is considered to be a form of energy, which is non-quantifiable and is present in all beings that are living. Life stems from spirit, without spirit, all matter is lifeless (Wikipedia, 2009). The word spirit may also sometimes refer to a supernatural existence, like a demon, angel or a fairy (The American Heritage Dictionary, 2009). The other meaning of the word spirit is that used in medicine and health. In general medicine, the spirit is a volatile chemical that is used as a disinfectant for bruises and cuts. Methylated spirit, commonly known as ‘spirit’ is denatured alcohol. It is undrinkable and poisonous (Boggan, 2003). Chemically, the Methylated spirit is also known as ethanol. It is medicinally used as an antiseptic and disinfectant. It is also used for removal of fungus from the skin. Spirit also has a lot of uses outside medicine. It is used as a cleaning agent in housekeeping, as fuel, for killing bugs, for maintenance of wicks and as a sanding aid (Boggan, 2003). Yet another sense in which the word is used is that of alcoholic beverages. Spirit is defined as any unsweetened, alcohol-based, distilled beverage, which has at least 20% alcohol by volume in it (Alexis, 1987). There are many forms of liquors that fall under the umbrella of ‘spirit’. Spirits may include wine, beer sake of whiskey. Spirits can be prepared based on different criteria. The preparation of a spirit may depend on serving size, the volume of alcohol, strength or power of alcohol, flavor, and flammability (Alexis, 1987). The use of the word spirit in the context of alcohol is therefore very common especially at places where alcohol is sold. For example, on may use the word spirit as: ‘Do you sell spirits?’ or ‘I am not into spirits’ etc. Different philosophical and religious schools of thought have a different concept regarding ‘spirit’. In ancient Greek philosophy, a popular concept was that God sends guardian spirits for His people, to protect them from all evil. This idea later refined into the concept of guardian angels. Angels are defined as spirits that do not have any form and are made of energy. All spirits are believed to exist in the cosmos, at a plane different from ours. Most of the philosophers believe that spirit alone is formless. According to the Buddhist concept, where there is form, there is the reason for suffering. So it is believed that when the body of the man, the objective man is annihilated, the spirit is liberated and reaches bliss. The subjective life of man is the spirit which cannot be corrupted and is immortal. The spirit does not die (Theosophy, 1966). ... Read More
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