[ ey-lahn, ey-lan; French ey-lahn ]
/ eɪˈlɑn, eɪˈlæn; French eɪˈlɑ̃ /


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. 2019

Examples from the Web for elan

British Dictionary definitions for elan


/ (eɪˈlɑːn, eɪˈlæn, French elɑ̃) /


a combination of style and vigourhe performed the concerto with élan

Word Origin for élan

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