from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. The belief in the existence of individual spirits that inhabit natural objects and phenomena.
- n. The belief in the existence of spiritual beings that are separable or separate from bodies.
- n. The hypothesis holding that an immaterial force animates the universe.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A belief that spirits inhabit some or all classes of natural objects or phenomena.
- n. A belief that an immaterial force animates the universe.
- n. A doctrine that animal life is produced by an immaterial spirit.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. The doctrine, taught by Stahl, that the soul is the proper principle of life and development in the body.
- n. The belief that inanimate objects and the phenomena of nature are endowed with personal life or a living soul; also, in an extended sense, the belief in the existence of soul or spirit apart from matter.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The hypothesis, original with Pythagoras and Plato, of a force (anima mundi, or soul of the world) immaterial but inseparable from matter, and giving to matter its form and movements.
- n. The theory of vital action and of disease propounded by the German chemist G. E. Stahl (1660–1734); the theory that the soul (anima) is the vital principle, the source of both the normal and the abnormal phenomena of life.
- n. The general conception of or the belief in souls and other spiritual beings; the explanation of all the phenomena in nature not due to obvious material causes by attributing them to spiritual agency.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. the doctrine that all natural objects and the universe itself have souls
From Latin anima, soul.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
anima + -ism, from Latin anima ("life", "breath", "soul"). Dated sense from German Animismus, coined c. 1720 by physicist/chemist Georg Ernst Stahl (1660-1734) See anima mundi. (Wiktionary)