vi·​tal | \ˈvī-tᵊl \

Definition of vital 

1a : of the utmost importance a vital clue vital resources

b : fundamentally concerned with or affecting life or living beings: such as

(1) : tending to renew or refresh the living : invigorating

(2) : destructive to life : mortal

2a : concerned with or necessary to the maintenance of life vital organs blood and other vital fluids

b : existing as a manifestation of life

3 : full of life and vigor : animated

4 : characteristic of life or living beings

5 : recording data relating to lives

6 : of, relating to, or constituting the staining of living tissues

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Other Words from vital

vitally \ ˈvī-​tᵊl-​ē \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for vital

essential, fundamental, vital, cardinal mean so important as to be indispensable. essential implies belonging to the very nature of a thing and therefore being incapable of removal without destroying the thing itself or its character. conflict is essential in drama fundamental applies to something that is a foundation without which an entire system or complex whole would collapse. fundamental principles of algebra vital suggests something that is necessary to a thing's continued existence or operation. cut off from vital supplies cardinal suggests something on which an outcome turns or depends. a cardinal rule in buying a home

Examples of vital in a Sentence

These matters are vital to national defense. The sciences are a vital part of the school curriculum. your heart, lungs, and other vital organs Exercise keeps her young and vital.
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Recent Examples on the Web

In short, time horizon and risk tolerance are vital to selecting asset allocation—and those three things will make up your plan. Vogue, "The First 3 Steps to Take When You Start to Invest," 25 Oct. 2018 Since each character has unique abilities, being able to access a wide range during free play is vital to uncovering secrets and gathering collectibles. Sarah Leboeuf, Ars Technica, "LEGO DC Super-Villains," 22 Oct. 2018 Preserving these works and creating a unique visitor's experience is vital to the museum's success. Olivia Martin, Town & Country, "Sir John Soane’s Museum Foundation Announces 2018 Visionaries Gala," 19 Sep. 2018 More vital to Chicago and other cities losing their black populations is the question of causation. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "How a ‘reverse Great Migration’ is reshaping U.S. cities," 31 July 2018 The fantastic work of Sentebale and the Duke of Sussex is vital to this end... Omid Scobie, Harper's BAZAAR, "Inside Prince Harry’s Plan to “Smash” the AIDS Stigma and Get More Men Testing for HIV," 26 July 2018 Incredible save and vital to keep England with their noses in front., "It's Coming Home! Twitter Goes Berserk as England March Into First World Cup Semi-Final Since 1990," 7 July 2018 He was hired away from The Associated Press while covering the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba, where his proficiency in speaking Spanish with a Cuban dialect proved vital. kansascity, "Journalists, sports figures and an endearing gorilla leave us," 22 June 2018 District 5 straddles parts of Miami and Miami Beach, with a heavy concentration of active voters in Little Havana and other enclaves when older Cuban-American voters are considered vital to win in low-turnout elections. Douglas Hanks, miamiherald, "Eileen Higgins wins Miami-Dade commission seat in upset over Zoraida Barreiro," 19 June 2018

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

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First Known Use of vital

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2b

History and Etymology for vital

Middle English, from Latin vitalis of life, from vita life; akin to Latin vivere to live — more at quick entry 1

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Statistics for vital

Last Updated

13 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for vital

The first known use of vital was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for vital



English Language Learners Definition of vital

: extremely important

: needed by your body in order to keep living

: very lively or energetic


vi·​tal | \ˈvī-tᵊl \

Kids Definition of vital

1 : concerned with or necessary to the continuation of life The heart and lungs are vital organs.

2 : full of life and energy At 80, he's still an active and vital man.

3 : very important a vital clue

Other Words from vital

vitally adverb These are vitally needed supplies.


vi·​tal | \ˈvīt-ᵊl \

Medical Definition of vital 

1a : existing as a manifestation of life

b : concerned with or necessary to the maintenance of life vital organs blood and other vital fluids

2 : characteristic of life or living beings vital activities

3 : recording data relating to lives vital records

4 : of, relating to, or constituting the staining of living tissues

Other Words from vital

vitally \ -​ᵊl-​ē \ adverb

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Comments on vital

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