from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Enthusiastic vigor and liveliness.
  • n. Distinctive style or flair.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Spirit, zeal, ardor.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Ardor inspired by passion or enthusiasm.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Ardor inspired by enthusiasm, passion, or the like; dash.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a feeling of strong eagerness (usually in favor of a person or cause)
  • n. enthusiastic and assured vigor and liveliness
  • n. distinctive and stylish elegance


French, from Old French eslan, rush, from eslancer, to hurl : es-, out (from Latin ex-; see ex-) + lancer, to throw (from Late Latin lanceāre, to throw a lance, from Latin lancea, lance).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Borrowing from French élan. (Wiktionary)


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  • Eric drove with great zest and elan--and the recklessness of someone extremely hard to kill. -Charlaine Harris, Living Dead in Dallas

    December 11, 2010

  • (n): energy, style, and enthusiasm.

    November 15, 2008