animal spirits

plural noun

Definition of animal spirits

1 sometimes animal spirit, obsolete : the nervous energy that is the source of physical sensation and movement
2 : vivacity arising from physical health and energy
3 in Keynesian economic theory : emotional feelings and desires (such as an optimistic willingness to take positive action) that influence the economic behavior of consumers and investors If you ask how much consumers will consume and investors invest over the next few months, the answer is determined largely by feelings—what John Maynard Keynes called "animal spirits." If frightened people decide not to spend, their nervousness can translate into a depressed economy.— Paul Krugman

Examples of animal spirits in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But investors shouldn’t expect healthy animal spirits roaming back into the Indian IPO market just yet. Megha Mandavia, WSJ, 3 June 2022 Economist John Maynard Keynes’ in the 1920s, held a notion of a sort of vibe amongst people, and its reflection/impact on economic outlook originates from people’s inner animal spirits. Alex Wagner, SPIN, 1 June 2022 René Descartes believed that animal spirits flowed from the brain through hollow nerves and inflated the muscles, just as hydraulic fluid traveled through machines in the royal gardens at Saint-Germain. Benjamin Ehrlich, Scientific American, 21 Mar. 2022 Housing's animal spirits are roaring at the start of 2022, and next New Year's Eve will ring in another year that's a little less intoxicating, but still a winner. Shawn Tully, Fortune, 20 Jan. 2022 Insurers may rarely get investors’ animal spirits racing. Telis Demos, WSJ, 19 Oct. 2021 There is no greater enemy to animal spirits than ESG, yet the appetite for it appears to be insatiable. Andy Martin, National Review, 10 Sep. 2021 The revival in virtual currencies has excited the animal spirits of the crypto faithful, putting predictions of $100,000 or more for Bitcoin back in vogue. BostonGlobe.com, 23 Aug. 2021 The return of animal spirits in anticipation of a strong recovery is the better fundamental explanation. George Calhoun, Forbes, 8 Apr. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'animal spirits.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of animal spirits

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of animal spirits was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near animal spirits

animal soul

animal spirits

animal starch

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Last Updated

19 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Animal spirits.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/animal%20spirits. Accessed 4 Jul. 2022.

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