élan vital

[French ey-lahn vee-tal]
  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

Related Words for elan vital

psyche, soul, vitality

Examples from the Web for elan vital

Historical Examples of elan vital

  • 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

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

Word Origin for élan vital

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