Word of the Day : December 31, 2016

zeitgeist

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noun TSYTE-gyste

Definition

: (often capitalized Zeitgeist) the general intellectual, moral, and cultural climate of an era

Examples

The movie does an excellent job of capturing the zeitgeist of the dot-com boom.

"The people making the product are the same demographic as the people using the product. They don't have to rely on research and data to inform product decisions—they're just making things that they themselves want to use based on the zeitgeist of their generation." — Rachel Pasqua, quoted in Adweek, 3 Nov. 2016



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.



Test Your Vocabulary

What 4-letter word can refer to a distinctive atmosphere or impression surrounding a person or thing, or to a glow around the head of a deity or saint?

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