vital

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

Essential Meaning of vital

1 : extremely important : crucial These matters are vital to national defense. He played a vital [=key] role in guiding the project. See More ExamplesThe sciences are a vital part of the school curriculum. It is vital that you follow all safety procedures. = It is of vital importance that you follow all safety procedures.Hide
2 : needed by your body in order to keep living your heart, lungs, and other vital organs
3 : very lively or energetic Exercise keeps her young and vital. Their music still seems fresh and vital after all these years.

Full 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

Other Words from vital

vitally \ ˈvī-​tᵊl-​ē How to pronounce vital (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 Nailing that scene -- and one of Shakespeare's most famous passages -- was vital, especially as production designer and director had conspired on a new interpretation. CNN, 14 Jan. 2022 Offseason conversations with Hackett meant Trilli knew what he’d be expected to contribute, and those summer sessions with his new teammates proved to be vital. Dave Melton, chicagotribune.com, 14 Jan. 2022 Checking the coronavirus’ breakneck spread is vital, officials say, to ensure that healthcare systems aren’t swamped with a deluge of additional patients. Los Angeles Times, 11 Jan. 2022 Naturally, with Passing being an adaptation, the original source material was vital in helping the actress understand the character's motivations and struggles. Lauren Huff, EW.com, 10 Jan. 2022 There’s no straightforward path for independent designers, but having a strong social media presence, creating meaningful relationships, and being consistent was vital for me. Christian Allaire, Vogue, 9 Jan. 2022 As a result, fixing errors on a report is vital since that affects your credit score. Khristopher J. Brooks, CBS News, 6 Jan. 2022 Though her rebound totals are down, she's been vital in Louisville's top-30 ranking of scoring margin. Cameron Teague Robinson, The Courier-Journal, 5 Jan. 2022 Virtual moments of reflection for action are vital to deepen insight and networking. Kevin Kruse, Forbes, 4 Jan. 2022

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near vital

vita-glass

vital

vital air

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for vital

Last Updated

21 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Vital.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vital. Accessed 29 Jan. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for vital

vital

adjective
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.

vital

adjective
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 vital (audio) \ adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on vital

Nglish: Translation of vital for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of vital for Arabic Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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