élan was our Word of the Day on 08/10/2017. Hear the podcast!
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Examples of élan in a Sentence
The dancer performed with great élan.
Recent Examples of élan from the Web
With wit and elan to spare, Greene expatiates on the intrigue that ensues when David Sparsholt, an engineering student with a fiancée, Connie, and a plan to join the Royal Air Force, arrives at Oxford in 1940.
Other pianists, young and old, may produce more keyboard accuracy and technical elan, but few convey the spirit and sensibility of pre-jazz and early jazz idioms as authentically as Helfer.
Paired with oversized Swarovski jewels and a punky new hair cut [link to beauty story], her latest outfit lends Parisienne elan a new attitude.
Not this time: The pianism was invested with a crisp rhythmic elan and instinctive grace not given to many pianists of Sunwoo’s age or experience.
Feeling that shift toward greater openness helped relieve me from the weight of the Parisian elan.
But the ability of ISIS to survive in Mosul for so long gave it an elan in the Islamic world that helped recruit young radicals and spread its brand around the world.
Sponsored, hilariously, by Lavish Salon of Beach Haven, this Hairspray had plenty of talent, personality, and elan.
This is someone with the elan to take Ku Klux Klan robes and turn them a fashion show.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'élan.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
Once upon a time, English speakers did not have "élan" (the word, that is; that's not to say we haven't always had potential for vigorous spirit). We had, however, "elance," a verb meaning "to hurl" that was used specifically for throwing lances and darts. "Elance" derived down the line from Middle French (s')eslancer ("to rush or dash"), itself from lancer, meaning "to hurl." With the decline of lance-throwing, we tossed out "elance" a century and half ago. Just about that time we found "élan," a noun that traces to "(s')eslancer." We copied "élan" in form from the French, but we dispensed with the French sense of a literal "rush" or "dash," retaining the sense of enthusiastic animation that we sometimes characterize as "dash."
ÉLAN Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of élan for English Language Learners
: energy and enthusiasm
Seen and Heard
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