Can “Spirit” Be a Verb?

I have been reading Philip Hefner’s work for a while now – not a big surprise, since his work is a major part of my dissertation – but until now I did not know he had his own WordPress blog. So I am reblogging this just to share my little discovery in the first place. But also because his writing can be very – no pun intended – inspiring. See for yourself in this post on ‘spiriting’.


Can “Spirit” be a Verb?


I want to float an idea—the idea of “spirit.”  The English word “spirit” is not very versatile.  It’s almost exclusively used as a noun, most often referring to a supernatural power or presence, although we often speak as well of the human spirit.  Once in a while you will run across spirit as an adjective as when we speak of a spirited horse.  I want to raise the question whether spirit can also be a verb—an action word.


Let’s go further: if spirit is a verb, who or what is the subject of the verb?  Suppose the subject is my body.  I want to go beyond that and say that “my body spirits.” Yes, there’s a certain amount of linguistic acrobatics going on here, but then new ways of thinking often require that we do new things with our language.


Before I…

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