élan was our Word of the Day on 08/10/2017. Hear the podcast!
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
Examples of élan in a Sentence
The dancer performed with great élan.
Recent Examples of élan from the Web
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.
Macron, for all his youthful elan, received little enthusiasm from young voters, who flocked to Le Pen and leftist Jean-Luc Mélenchon.
Davis falls for the elan of Paris, an artsy city where a black man is an equal, while Cocteau sneers at the shallowness of America, with its worship of productivity over pondering.
The one musician who captured Heggie’s dramatic gestures was cellist Andrew Shulman, who dug into his part with elan and lyricism.
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
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up élan? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).