élan vital

[ French ey-lahn vee-tal ]
/ French eɪ lɑ̃ viˈtal /


(especially in Bergsonian philosophy) the creative force within an organism that is responsible for growth, change, and necessary or desirable adaptations.

Words nearby élan vital

Origin of élan vital

1905–10; < French: literally, vital ardor
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Examples from the Web for 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
/ French (elɑ̃ vital) /


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