late 14c., "one of the nine Muses of classical mythology," daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, protectors of the arts; from Old French Muse and directly from Latin Musa, from Greek Mousa, "the Muse," also "music, song," ultimately from PIE root *men- (1) "to think." Meaning "inspiring goddess of a particular poet" (with a lower-case m-) is from late 14c.
The traditional names and specialties of the nine Muses are: Calliope (epic poetry), Clio (history), Erato (love poetry, lyric art), Euterpe (music, especially flute), Melpomene (tragedy), Polymnia (hymns), Terpsichore (dance), Thalia (comedy), Urania (astronomy).
The Greek word is from PIE *kole-mo- "grass, reed," source also of Old English healm, Old High German halm "straw;" Latin culmus "stalk;" Old Prussian salme "straw," Latvian salms; Russian soloma. Sanskrit kalama- "writing reed," Arabic qalam are said by Beekes to have been borrowed from the Greek word.
"musical instrument having a long tube with seven holes and a mouthpiece," early 15c. (earlier recordys, mid-14c.), from record (v.) in an archaic sense of "quietly sing or repeat a tune, practice a tune," used mostly of birds. Darwin, writing of birds in "The Descent of Man," says, "The young males continue practising, or as the bird-catchers say, recording, for ten or eleven months."
The musical instrument was known to Shakespeare and Milton ("In perfect phalanx to the Dorian mood/Of flutes and soft recorders," "Paradise Lost"), but the name, and the device, were rarely heard by mid-1800s (it is marked "obsolete" in Century Dictionary, 1895), ousted by the flute, but both enjoyed revival after 1911 as an easy-to-play instrument for musical beginners.
Seynte Aldelme diede in this tyme havynge in habite and in use instrumentes of the arte off musike, as in harpes, pipes, recordres. [Higden's "Polychronicon," 15c. translation]
"single-reeded tubular woodwind instrument with a bell mouth," 1768, from French clarinette (18c.), diminutive of clarine "little bell" (16c.), noun use of fem. of adjective clarin (which also was used as a noun, "trumpet, clarion"), from clair, cler, from Latin clarus (see clear (adj.)). Alternative form clarionet is attested from 1784.
The instrument, a modification of the medieval shawm, is said to have been invented c. 1700 by J.C. Denner of Nuremberg, Germany, and was a recognized orchestral instrument from c. 1775. The ease of playing it increased greatly with a design improvement from 1843 based on Boehm's flute.
After the hautboy came the clarinet. This instrument astonished every beholder, not so much, perhaps, on account of its sound, as its machinery. One that could manage the keys of a clarinet, forty five years ago, so as to play a tune, was one of the wonders of the age. Children of all ages would crowd around the performer, and wonder and admire when the keys were moved. [Nathaniel D. Gould, "Church Music in America," Boston, 1853]
German Clarinet, Swedish klarinett, Italian clarinetto, etc. all are from French. Related: Clarinettist.
mid-13c., "animating or vital principle in man and animals," from Anglo-French spirit, Old French espirit "spirit, soul" (12c., Modern French esprit) and directly from Latin spiritus "a breathing (respiration, and of the wind), breath; breath of a god," hence "inspiration; breath of life," hence "life;" also "disposition, character; high spirit, vigor, courage; pride, arrogance," related to spirare "to breathe," perhaps from PIE *(s)peis- "to blow" (source also of Old Church Slavonic pisto "to play on the flute"). But de Vaan says "Possibly an onomatopoeic formation imitating the sound of breathing. There are no direct cognates."
Meaning "supernatural immaterial creature; angel, demon; an apparition, invisible corporeal being of an airy nature" is attested from mid-14c.; from late 14c. as "a ghost" (see ghost (n.)). From c. 1500 as "a nature, character"; sense of "essential principle of something" (in a non-theological context, as in Spirit of St. Louis) is attested from 1680s, common after 1800; Spirit of '76 in reference to the qualities that sparked and sustained the American Revolution is attested by 1797 in William Cobbett's "Porcupine's Gazette and Daily Advertiser."
From late 14c. in alchemy as "volatile substance; distillate;" from c. 1500 as "substance capable of uniting the fixed and the volatile elements of the philosopher's stone." Hence spirits "volatile substance;" sense narrowed to "strong alcoholic liquor" by 1670s. This also is the sense in spirit level (1768). Also from mid-14c. as "character, disposition; way of thinking and feeling, state of mind; source of a human desire;" in Middle English freedom of spirit meant "freedom of choice." From late 14c. as "divine substance, divine mind, God;" also "Christ" or His divine nature; "the Holy Ghost; divine power;" also, "extension of divine power to man; inspiration, a charismatic state; charismatic power, especially of prophecy." Also "essential nature, essential quality." From 1580s in metaphoric sense "animation, vitality."
According to Barnhart and OED, originally in English mainly from passages in Vulgate, where the Latin word translates Greek pneuma and Hebrew ruah. Distinction between "soul" and "spirit" (as "seat of emotions") became current in Christian terminology (such as Greek psykhe vs. pneuma, Latin anima vs. spiritus) but "is without significance for earlier periods" [Buck]. Latin spiritus, usually in classical Latin "breath," replaces animus in the sense "spirit" in the imperial period and appears in Christian writings as the usual equivalent of Greek pneuma. Spirit-rapping is from 1852.