The English word "spirit" comes from the Latin spiritus, meaning "breath." The word was loaned into Middle English in the thirteenth century via the Old French word, espirit. In Christianity, a distinction was made between soul and spirit. The Greek word pneuma was translated as "spiritus" in the Latin Vulgate instead of anima (soul), which was rendered psykhē. This distinction between spirit and soul reflected in the Greek and Latin languages (that is, Greek psykhe vs. pneuma; Latin anima vs. spiritus) ultimately derives from the Hebrew, which itself embodies a distinction between ruach (breath/wind) and nephesh (soul).

There are related concepts to spirit in other languages such as the German, 'Geist' (related to the English word ghost) and the French, "l'espirit." Sanskrit uses the terms akasha and prana (breath). Similarly, both the Scandinavian languages and the Chinese language uses the term "breath" to refer to the spirit. In the Bible, the word "ruach" is most commonly translated as the spirit, whose essence is divine.

Rick Hunter

Yes indeed, welcome to AE! I am starting to believe that spirits are a form of energy and awareness that doesn't inhabit a corporeal body. They can inhabit places and objects, and someone who is attuned to them can sense their presence. All my life I have been able to sense what I can only call "energies" in places, buildings, structures, and objects. My senses are not sharp enough to perceive exactly what they are, but I am working on that. For example, when I step into an antique store it feels like it is buzzing with energy and life to me. Same for old buildings which have housed many families or businesses over the years.

I think the energies could be spirits, they could also be something of a "recording" left by people and activities which happened long ago. We have all heard the story of certain roads where motorists are pursued by a ghost car flashing it's lights and blowing it's horn, seemingly trying to cause a wreck. Also, railroad tracks and even former railroad beds with no tracks are said to host ghost trains which haven't been scheduled for decades. I believe spirits and energies haunt the scenes of famous crimes and disasters, such as my state's Carrollton Bus Crash and Beverly Hills Supper Club Fire.