high spirits


in high spirits (idiom)
/haɪ ˈspɪrɪts/


  • a state of being lively, enthusiastic, and full of positive energy.
  • the feeling of being confident and positive about oneself and the future.
  • experiencing a light-hearted and buoyant mood, often characterized by laughter and joy.
  • exhibiting an energetic and animated demeanor, often with lively conversation and actions.
  • being in a jovial and upbeat mood, typically associated with fun and enjoyment.

Example Sentences

  1. After receiving the good news, she was in high spirits for the rest of the day.
  2. The children were in high spirits during the school picnic, laughing and playing all afternoon.
  3. He walked into the office in high spirits, ready to tackle any challenge.
  4. Despite the rainy weather, the team’s high spirits kept the event lively and enjoyable.
  5. Her high spirits were contagious, lifting the mood of everyone around her.

Origin and History

The idiom “high spirits” has a rich and multifaceted origin, drawing from linguistic evolution, cultural practices, and even the effects of alcohol. It encapsulates a universal human experience of elevated mood and joy, making it a timeless expression in the English language.

Early Usage and Etymology

The word “spirit” itself has Latin roots, derived from “spiritus,” meaning “breath” or “soul.” In English, “spirit” has been used since at least the 13th century to refer to the non-physical part of a person, which includes emotions and character. By the 16th century, “spirits” began to be used to describe a person’s mood or emotional state, such as in the phrase “good spirits” or “low spirits.”

Cultural and Literary References

Historical texts and literature often used the term “spirits” to describe emotional states. For instance, Shakespeare frequently used “spirits” to denote mood and vitality. The phrase “high spirits” likely evolved from this general usage, emphasizing an elevated or particularly positive state of mood.

Association with Alcohol

Another interesting aspect of the phrase’s evolution is its connection to alcohol. The term “spirits” also came to refer to distilled alcoholic beverages, which can uplift one’s mood. This dual meaning may have influenced the development of the idiom “high spirits,” linking it to both elevated mood and the temporary euphoria provided by alcohol.

Psychological and Physical Well-being

The notion of “high spirits” has been consistently linked with well-being and happiness. Throughout history, various practices such as physical exercise, positive affirmations, and social interactions have been recommended to maintain high spirits. This reflects the longstanding belief that a positive emotional state is crucial for overall health and resilience.

Modern Usage and Adaptations

In contemporary language, “high spirits” is used in diverse contexts, from describing a cheerful group at a party to the buoyant mood of a sports team. This flexibility in usage underscores the idiom’s broad application in conveying positive, lively emotions.


  1. over the moon
  2. on cloud nine
  3. in seventh heaven
  4. walking on air
  5. full of beans

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