Definition of zeitgeist
: the general intellectual, moral, and cultural climate of an era
zeitgeist was our Word of the Day on 12/31/2016. Hear the podcast!
Examples of zeitgeist in a Sentence
His songs perfectly captured the zeitgeist of 1960s America.
Recent Examples of zeitgeist from the Web
This movie seems to be arriving at exactly the right moment in the zeitgeist for Asian performers in Hollywood.
In the space of roughly 500 words, someone — a junior book publicist, probably — had managed to concentrate the zeitgeist of contemporary female celebrity into its purest form.
The drinks are smart and just as true to the zeitgeist.
Ford alone might not be enough to scare off the power brands that have embraced the concept, but there is a growing sense that the momentum that drove see-now-buy-now into the zeitgeist for the September 2016 shows has dwindled.
Their photos play particularly well on Instagram (Gentl has upwards of 60,000 followers), perhaps because of their zeitgeist-y subject matter—
Just as important is the ability to read the cultural tea leaves to be able to foresee which shows will map on to the national zeitgeist.
On a meta level, can a show that draws much of its heat from tapping the pop-cultural and political zeitgeist keep pace with the chaos of 2016?
There was also some resentment among users who built large followings, directing their anger at Twitter for failing to capitalize on Vine’s former zeitgeist status.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'zeitgeist'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
Scholars have long maintained that each era has a unique spirit, a nature or climate that sets it apart from all other epochs. In German, such a spirit is known as "Zeitgeist," from the German words Zeit, meaning "time," and Geist, meaning "spirit" or "ghost." Some writers and artists assert that the true zeitgeist of an era cannot be known until it is over, and several have declared that only artists or philosophers can adequately explain it. We don’t know if that’s true, but we do know that "zeitgeist" has been a useful addition to the English language since at least 1835.
Origin and Etymology of zeitgeist
German, from Zeit + Geist spirit
First Known Use: 1835
ZEITGEIST Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of zeitgeist for English Language Learners
: the general beliefs, ideas, and spirit of a time and place
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