free spirit

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



free spirit (plural free spirits)

  1. One who is a nonconformist or who does not recognize the authority of others.
    Synonyms: eccentric, heteroclite, individualist; see also Thesaurus:maverick
    • 1904, Jack London, chapter 26, in The Sea-Wolf (Macmillan’s Standard Library), New York, N.Y.: Grosset & Dunlap, →OCLC:
      But Lucifer was a free spirit. To serve was to suffocate.
    • 1917, Friedrich Nietzsche, Thomas Common, transl., Thus Spake Zarathustra[1]:
      —“And thou,” said Zarathustra to the wanderer and shadow, “thou callest and thinkest thyself a free spirit? And thou here practisest such idolatry and hierolatry?
    • 1959 October 19, “Books: Rake's Progress”, in Time[2], archived from the original on 2012-08-01:
      Writing in the Victorian era, Scientist Ellis (Psychology of Sex) idolized Casanova as a free spirit, a man who had the courage to live life fully, and as a shining example of "adjustment"—for Casanova adapted himself so easily to his own desires.
    • 2011 July 27, Williams, Alex, “What Your Beard Says About You”, in New York Times[3], retrieved 29 July 2011:
      To many bosses, a beard is a dangerous sign, like a neck tattoo or a pierced nose, that says, “I am a free spirit, not a team player.”
  2. (historical) A member of the organized heretic movement Brethren of the Free Spirit in opposition of the Catholic Church from the 13th to 15th centuries.
    • 1989, Greil Marcus, “The assault on Notre-Dame”, in Lipstick Traces, Faber & Faber, published 2009:
      Free spirits sought paradise with the claim that only through the affirmation of sin could one negate it. The partisan of the Free Spirit did not incarnate sin. He [] incarnated God.

Derived terms[edit]


Further reading[edit]