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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Earlier last year, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex began supporting this vital program behind the scenes by hosting a meeting at Kensington Palace with contributors and partners. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "The Royal Fab Four Have Reunited for Their First Joint Project Since Splitting Households," 10 May 2019 On Monday, the FDA approved the first drug designed specifically to treat postpartum depression, marking a vital new chapter for women and physicians alike. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "The FDA Has Approved the First Postpartum Depression Drug—And It’s a Game-Changer," 20 Mar. 2019 So vital space was sacrificed for a second sleeping area and a larger single loft than necessary. Taylor Martin, House Beautiful, "What I Learned About Living In A Tiny House," 7 Nov. 2018 Newspaper reports from the time have provided vital clues. Fox News, "Mysterious shipwreck reveals its secrets: Wreck may be Lake Erie’s oldest," 15 Oct. 2018 People with Type 2 diabetes produce normal levels of this vital hormone, but their bodies don’t respond appropriately. Carmen Heredia Rodriguez, Washington Post, "Retooled Vaccine Raises Hopes As A Lower-Cost Treatment For Type 1 Diabetes," 13 July 2018 Additionally, offering an affordable price point to accompany a high-quality product was vital to Morris while developing Undefined Beauty. Storm Monteiro Tyler, Allure, "Undefined Beauty's CBD Skin-Care Line Donates to Formerly Incarcerated Women," 20 Apr. 2019 Trump also knows the Midwest is vital to his re-election bid. Scott Bauer, The Seattle Times, "Sanders promises to win back Midwest states Trump captured," 13 Apr. 2019 The portfolio information is vital to big trading firms that use the information to keep ETF prices in line with the value of their underlying assets. Asjylyn Loder, WSJ, "SEC Backs Nontransparent Exchange-Traded Fund," 8 Apr. 2019

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

15 May 2019

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 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on vital

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with vital

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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).


to speak slightingly about or to degrade

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