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élan vital

[French ey-lahn vee-tal]
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noun
  1. (especially in Bergsonian philosophy) the creative force within an organism that is responsible for growth, change, and necessary or desirable adaptations.

Origin of élan vital

1905–10; < French: literally, vital ardor
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for elan vital

Historical Examples

  • What is this elan-vital, that a little fall in temperature would banish altogether from the universe?

    Winds Of Doctrine

    George Santayana


British Dictionary definitions for elan vital

élan vital

noun
  1. a creative principle held by Henri Bergson to be present in all organisms and responsible for evolutionCompare Bergsonism

Word Origin

literally: vital impetus
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