Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Of, relating to, or characteristic of life: synonym: living.
  • adjective Necessary to the continuation of life; life-sustaining.
  • adjective Used or done on a living cell or tissue.
  • adjective Concerned with or recording data pertinent to lives.
  • adjective Full of life or energy; animated.
  • adjective Necessary to continued existence or effectiveness.
  • adjective Extremely important; essential.
  • adjective Destructive to life; fatal.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Of or pertaining to life, either animal or vegetable: as, vital energies.
  • Contributing to life; necessary to life: as,vital air; vital blood.
  • Containing life; living.
  • Being the seat of life; being that on which life, depends; hence, essential to existence; indispensable.
  • Capable of living; viable.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun rare A vital part; one of the vitals.
  • adjective Belonging or relating to life, either animal or vegetable
  • adjective Contributing to life; necessary to, or supporting, life.
  • adjective Containing life; living.
  • adjective Being the seat of life; being that on which life depends; mortal.
  • adjective Very necessary; highly important; essential.
  • adjective rare Capable of living; in a state to live; viable.
  • adjective [Obs.] oxygen gas; -- so called because essential to animal life.
  • adjective (Physiol.) the breathing capacity of the lungs; -- expressed by the number of cubic inches of air which can be forcibly exhaled after a full inspiration.
  • adjective (Biol.) See under Force. The vital forces, according to Cope, are nerve force (neurism), growth force (bathmism), and thought force (phrenism), all under the direction and control of the vital principle. Apart from the phenomena of consciousness, vital actions no longer need to be considered as of a mysterious and unfathomable character, nor vital force as anything other than a form of physical energy derived from, and convertible into, other well-known forces of nature.
  • adjective (Physiol.) those functions or actions of the body on which life is directly dependent, as the circulation of the blood, digestion, etc.
  • adjective an immaterial force, to which the functions peculiar to living beings are ascribed.
  • adjective statistics respecting the duration of life, and the circumstances affecting its duration.
  • adjective (Physiol.) See under Tripod.
  • adjective (Bot.) a name for latex tubes, now disused. See Latex.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Relating to, or characteristic of life.
  • adjective Necessary to the continuation of life; being the seat of life; being that on which life depends.
  • adjective Invigorating or life-giving.
  • adjective Necessary to continued existence.
  • adjective Relating to the recording of life events.
  • adjective Very important.

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

  • adjective manifesting or characteristic of life
  • adjective full of spirit
  • adjective urgently needed; absolutely necessary
  • adjective performing an essential function in the living body

Etymologies

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

[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin vītālis, from vīta, life; see gwei- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English, from Old French, from Latin vītālis ("of life, life-giving"), from vīta ("life"), from vīvō ("live").

Examples

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Comments

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  • contronymic: lively vs. deadly as in "vital wound"

    December 10, 2006

  • Money is vital to the success of the program.

    April 14, 2007

  • 'No one seems to realise how vital my supply of oxygen is'

    - Peter Reading, C, 1984

    July 23, 2008

  • And your eyes now often tell me

    That your once vital talent to extract joy

    From the air

    Has fallen into a sleep.

    - Hafiz, 'The Theatre of Freedom', from 'The Subject Tonight is Love' translated by Daniel Ladinsky.

    August 11, 2008