The word comes from the Latin spiritus, meaning "breath. It is distinquished from the Latin anima, "soul" (which nontheless derives from an Indo-European root meaning  "to breathe".

Though soul and spirit are two different ideas, the word "spirit" is often used interchangeably with the word "soul" because both survive bodily death.

In spiritual and metaphysical terms, "spirit" has acquired a number of meanings:

The principle of conscious life.