Definitions

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

  • noun plural The vital body organs.
  • noun plural The parts essential to continued functioning, as of a system.
  • noun plural Informal Vital signs.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • The viscera necessary for vital processes; those interior parts or organs which are essential to life, as the brain, heart, lungs, and stomach: a vague general term.
  • The part of any complex whole that is essential to its life or existence, or to a sound state: as, corruption of manners preys upon the vitals of a state.

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

  • noun plural Organs that are necessary for life; more especially, the heart, lungs, and brain.
  • noun plural Fig.: The part essential to the life or health of anything.

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

  • noun plurale tantum Those organs of the body that are essential for life.
  • noun plurale tantum, figuratively Those parts of a system without which it cannot function.
  • noun medicine, plurale tantum vital signs

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

  • noun a bodily organ that is essential for life

Etymologies

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