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(the) Dunkirk spirit
An attitude of strength, determination, and camaraderie, especially by the British people as a whole, during a difficult and adverse time or situation. Refers to the evacuation of allied troops from Dunkirk, France, carried out by several civilian boats during World War II. Primarily heard in UK. Our country faces the worst economic crises in decades, but I remain confident that, with a bit of the Dunkirk spirit, we can come out of this stronger than ever.
See also: spirit
a kindred spirit
A person who shares several or many fundamental beliefs, ideas, convictions, sentiments, attitudes, and/or interests with oneself. It didn't take long to figure out that John is a kindred spirit, and we've been the closest of friends ever since we met.
lose (one's) spirit
To lose one's vigor, energy, hope, or resolve; to become resigned or complacent. The underdog team had a shot at winning the game early on, but they seem to have lost their spirit at this point. You've come so far with your law degree. Don't lose spirit now!
the spirit of the law
The intended meaning of a law by those who wrote it, as opposed to a literal interpretation thereof. It's quite apparent that the CEOs of these companies, while technically acting legally, have violated the spirit of the law in order to further their own profits at the expense of their clients and employees.
Someone who does not conform to social norms or expectations. Maria is too much of a free spirit to be working in a stuffy corporate environment.
Someone who is influential or an inspiration to others. Amy's mother was always her guiding spirit during difficult decisions.
as the spirit moves (one)
When one feels compelled to do something. Laura's grades are so bad because she only comes to class as the spirit moves her. I usually stay home on weekends, but I'll go out as the spirit moves me.
in good spirits
Fig. happy and cheerful; positive and looking toward the future, despite unhappy circumstances. The patient is in good spirits and that will speed her recovery. Tom wasn't in very good spirits after he heard the bad news.
The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
Prov. People cannot always do what they know they ought to do.; People are not always physically capable of doing what they are willing to do. (Biblical.) Alan: Have you started the diet your doctor recommended? Fred: The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
spirit someone or something away (somewhere)
to sneak someone or something away to another place. The police spirited the prisoner away before the crowd assembled in front of the jail. They spirited away the celebrity.
spirit someone or something off (to some place)
to hurry someone or something away, presumably unnoticed, to another place. Aunt Jane spirited the children off to bed at half-past eight. She spirited off the leftover roast beef.
That's the spirit!
That is the right attitude and preferred evidence of high motivation. A: I am sure I can do it! B: That's the spirit!
(when) the spirit moves you
when you want to or feel ready to When the spirit moved her, she would work through the night. Public opinion can take a sharp turn any time the spirit moves them.
a free spirit
someone who does what they want and does not feel limited by the usual rules of social behaviour His brothers describe Nick as something of a free spirit, unconventional and adventurous.
a guiding light/spirit
someone who influences a person or group and shows them how to do something successfully She was the founder of the company, and for forty years its guiding light.
the moving spirit(literary)
someone who starts an important organization or course of action (often + behind ) Born in Nkroful, Ghana, he was the moving spirit behind the Charter of African States.
as/when the spirit moves you(humorous)
if you do something when the spirit moves you, you only do it when you want to He'll cook now and again, when the spirit moves him.
enter/get into the spirit of something
to show that you are happy to be at a social event by talking to a lot of people, dancing, or wearing special clothes 'Hey, I like your hat!' 'Well, I thought I'd better enter into the spirit of things.' I'm afraid I was feeling too ill to really get into the spirit of the evening.
in good spirits
Also, in high spirits. Happy, cheerful, as in Jane was in good spirits today. [Early 1700s] However, high spirits also can indicate liveliness and vivacity, as in The children were in high spirits at the prospect of a trip to the circus.
Also, kindred soul. An individual with the same beliefs, attitudes or feelings as oneself. For example, Dean and I are kindred spirits when it comes to spending money-we're both tight. [Mid-1800s]
Carry off mysteriously or secretly, as in The police found that the documents had been spirited away from the office. This term derives from the noun spirit, in the sense of "a supernatural being such as a ghost." [Second half of 1600s]
spirit is willing but the flesh is weak, the
One would like to undertake something but hasn't the energy or strength to do so. For example, Another set of tennis? The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. Today often used as a rueful admission of weariness or other physical weakness, this idiom was first recorded in the New Testament (Matthew 26:41), where Jesus tells his disciples: "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." A modern equivalent is I would if I could but I can't.
To carry someone or something off mysteriously or secretly: The lawyers spirited away the documents. In the folktale, an old giant spirited the children away.