vi·​tal | \ ˈvī-tᵊl How to pronounce vital (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from vital

vitally \ ˈvī-​tᵊl-​ē How to pronounce vitally (audio) \ 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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web For Jason Dickinson, communication has been vital in the nearly four months since the NHL suspended its season due to COVID-19 concerns. Matthew Defranks, Dallas News, "How Jason Dickinson’s communication skills are critical to Stars’ restart," 4 July 2020 Former acting director of the Defense Intelligence Agency and 33-year CIA veteran David Shedd said the relationship with Brazil is vital in the hemisphere. Abraham Mahshie, Washington Examiner, "EXCLUSIVE: Southern Command rebuilds intelligence relationship with Brazil years after Snowden damage," 4 July 2020 Returning to sport-specific workouts July 13 is vital. David Hinojosa,, "Controlling the COVID-19 outbreak key to fall sports start," 4 July 2020 The information is vital because patients might refuse telehealth and instead request an office visit if they are not covered at comparable levels. Ken Alltucker, USA TODAY, "Telehealth can be life-saving amid COVID-19, yet as virus rages, insurance companies look to scale back," 4 July 2020 Alibaba is the latest big-time partner Beyond has won in mainland China, a vast market that is seen as vital for the US company's growth. Michelle Toh, CNN, "Beyond Meat is coming to Alibaba's grocery stores in China," 1 July 2020 This is vital, Castor says, because communities of color and low-income families have long been disproportionately impacted by environmental crises — a fact which has been laid bare by COVID-19. Jeff Berardelli, CBS News, ""We are at a crossroads": House Democrats release plan to address climate crisis," 30 June 2020 But the safeguards are vital to contain a virus that has ravaged Black communities and caused more confirmed cases in Montgomery than anywhere in the state. Mike Cason |, al, "Alabama funeral directors see pain, magnitude of pandemic," 28 June 2020 Hall said seeing diversity reflected in public art is vital, especially freeing these works from existing only in certain sections of town. Sarah Honosky, Washington Post, "Virginia artist creates mural celebrating ‘Black Girl Magic’," 28 June 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about vital

Time Traveler for vital

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for vital

Last Updated

7 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Vital.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for vital


How to pronounce vital (audio)

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 How to pronounce vital (audio) \

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 How to pronounce vital (audio) \

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 How to pronounce vitally (audio) \ adverb

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on vital

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for vital

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with vital

Spanish Central: Translation of vital

Nglish: Translation of vital for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of vital for Arabic Speakers

Comments on vital

What made you want to look up vital? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!