• synonyms


[ey-lahn, ey-lan; French ey-lahn]
See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
  1. dash; impetuous ardor: to dance with great élan.

Origin of élan

1875–80; French, Middle French eslan a dash, rush, noun derivative of eslancer to dart, equivalent to es- ex-1 + lancer to lance1
Can be confusedéclat élan
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for elan

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Besides, there isnt any dead body awaiting his elan on that ship or any ship.

  • The course of the aqueduct from Elan to Birmingham was marked by a thin red line.

    The Blue Germ

    Martin Swayne

  • My friend Sarakoff and I introduced the germ that we discovered into the Elan reservoirs.

    The Blue Germ

    Martin Swayne

  • On the north lay the river Elan and on the south the steep side of a mountain towered up against the luminous sky.

    The Blue Germ

    Martin Swayne

  • Elan was its characteristic—but it was hard to reduce to the stratified regularity of an army.

British Dictionary definitions for elan


  1. a combination of style and vigourhe performed the concerto with élan

Word Origin

C19: from French, from élancer to throw forth, ultimately from Latin lancea lance
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for elan


1877, from French élan (16c.), "spring, bound, impetus," noun derived from élancer "to rush, dart," from Old French elancer, from e- "out" (see ex-) + lancer "to throw," originally "to throw a lance," from Late Latin lanceare, from Latin lancea (see lance (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper