vitalism

noun

vi·​tal·​ism ˈvī-tə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce vitalism (audio)
1
: a doctrine that the functions of a living organism are due to a vital principle distinct from physicochemical forces
2
: a doctrine that the processes of life are not explicable by the laws of physics and chemistry alone and that life is in some part self-determining
vitalist noun or adjective
vitalistic adjective

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web During that Algiers Motel purgatory, the Motown vitalism (and its implied orgiastic decadence) is interrupted by a John Coltrane jazz record. Armond White, National Review, 4 Aug. 2017

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

Word History

First Known Use

1822, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of vitalism was in 1822

Dictionary Entries Near vitalism

Cite this Entry

“Vitalism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vitalism. Accessed 9 Dec. 2022.

Medical Definition

vitalism

noun
vi·​tal·​ism ˈvīt-ᵊl-ˌiz-əm How to pronounce vitalism (audio)
1
: a doctrine that the functions of a living organism are due to a vital principle distinct from physicochemical forces
2
: a doctrine that the processes of life are not explicable by the laws of physics and chemistry alone and that life is in some part self-determining

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