Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The life force or vital principle posited in the philosophy of Henri Bergson; any mysterious or creative vital principle.

Etymologies

From French élan vital, coined by Henri Bergson. (Wiktionary)

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  • "German generals, for example, had decided to bleed France into submission by matching it death for death at Verdun, believing that Germany's greater population would leave it victorious. The French later replied with their own massive offensive, believing that their élan vital would triumph."
    —John M. Barry, The Great Influenza (NY: Penguin Books, 2004), 119

    February 14, 2009