plural noun

vi·​tals ˈvī-tᵊlz How to pronounce vitals (audio)
: internal bodily organs (such as the heart, lungs, and brain) that are essential to life
especially : the vital organs of the abdomen (such as the liver and kidneys)
… charming opponents with her killer looks before delivering a karate kick to their vitalsStephen O'Shea
There is very little room to slip an arrow over that log and into the buck's vitals. North American Hunter
: essential parts
Delving into its slippery ways, the blog showed the Sony malware cloaking itself within the vitals of the machine …George Smith
: vital statistics sense 2a
We take our drinks and pens to a table and slowly start getting to know each other. In fact, it takes all of 10 minutes to get his vitals in writing (surgeon, 33, Yale, lives uptown) …Christine Fenno
Look past … Bryant McKinni's mind-boggling vitals (6'8", 343) and focus on one number: 0. That's how many sacks he surrendered in his college career.ESPN The Magazine
: vital signs sense 1
The nurse who came in most afternoons to check his vitals and most evenings to get him ready for the night …Stephen King

Examples of vitals in a Sentence

remember to wear a full vest to protect your vitals while sparring
Recent Examples on the Web Thiébaud was juggling trying to find a bed at the nearby hospital for Twain to claim before coordinating the airlift — all while keeping an eye on her dropping vitals. Julia Moore, Peoplemag, 30 Jan. 2023 Nurses came to her North Carolina private school to practice taking vitals, which included weighing in front of the entire class. Adrianna Rodriguez, USA TODAY, 19 Jan. 2023 The coma would be reversed once the brain was back to normal, if all of Allen’s vitals held. Han Ong, The New Yorker, 9 Jan. 2023 A half hour after the game was postponed, Rooney tweeted that Hamlin’s vitals were restored and that doctors intubated him to help him with his breathing. Mohammad Ahmad, cleveland, 3 Jan. 2023 Modern compound bows and crossbows (which most hunters are shooting) deliver arrows with plenty of force to push a quality mechanical broadhead through a deer’s vitals at those close and moderate ranges. Alex Robinson, Outdoor Life, 3 Jan. 2023 For providers, telehealth services can broaden access to care, and digital technology can reduce the number of people necessary to personally monitor vitals for awareness and diagnosis. Jiang Li, Forbes, 27 Dec. 2022 Relatives surrounding another bed began tearing up as an elderly woman’s vitals flatlined. Dake Kang, Anchorage Daily News, 25 Dec. 2022 Then there’s the other half of fitness tracking, which is health monitoring — features that measure your vitals, sleep, etc. Madison Yauger, Peoplemag, 19 Dec. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'vitals.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1607, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of vitals was in 1607

Dictionary Entries Near vitals

Cite this Entry

“Vitals.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


plural noun
vi·​tals ˈvīt-ᵊlz How to pronounce vitals (audio)
: vital organs (as the heart and liver)
: essential parts

Medical Definition


noun plural
vi·​tals ˈvīt-ᵊlz How to pronounce vitals (audio)
: vital organs (as the heart, liver, lungs, and brain)
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