from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. The theory or doctrine that life processes arise from or contain a nonmaterial vital principle and cannot be explained entirely as physical and chemical phenomena.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. the doctrine that life involves some immaterial "vital force", and cannot be explained scientifically
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. The doctrine that all the functions of a living organism are due to an unknown vital principle distinct from all chemical and physical forces.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In biology, the doctrine that ascribes all the functions of an organism to a vital principle distinct from chemical and other physical forces.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. (philosophy) a doctrine that life is a vital principle distinct from physics and chemistry
vital + -ism (Wiktionary)