Zeitgeist

[tsahyt-gahyst]

noun German.

the spirit of the time; general trend of thought or feeling characteristic of a particular period of time.

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British Dictionary definitions for zeitgeist

zeitgeist

noun

the spirit, attitude, or general outlook of a specific time or period, esp as it is reflected in literature, philosophy, etc

Word Origin for zeitgeist

C20: from German, literally: time spirit; see tide 1, ghost
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 zeitgeist
n.

1848, from German Zeitgeist, literally "spirit of the age," from Zeit "time" (see tide) + Geist "spirit" (see ghost).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for zeitgeist

Zeitgeist

[(tseyt-geyst, zeyt-geyst)]

The general moral, intellectual, and cultural climate of an era; Zeitgeist is German for “time-spirit.” For example, the Zeitgeist of England in the Victorian period included a belief in industrial progress, and the Zeitgeist of the 1980s in the United States was a belief in the power of money and the many ways in which to spend it.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.