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[tsahyt-gahyst] /ˈtsaɪtˌgaɪst/
noun, German.
the spirit of the time; general trend of thought or feeling characteristic of a particular period of time. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for Zeitgeist
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • No music rooted in bookish ideas, in literary or artistic movements, will survive the mutations of the Zeitgeist.

    Old Fogy James Huneker
  • The authors and thinkers themselves have been the first to feel the Zeitgeist.

    The Arena Various
  • Have the Zeitgeist and the Weltschmerz and the other things compared to which ‘le spleen’ was gay, done so much for us?

    The Rhythm of Life Alice Meynell
  • That the young are the only bridge to the promised land of the Zeitgeist of capitalism.

    After the Rain Sam Vaknin
  • Where should I go for tea and for news of the workings of the Zeitgeist?'

    The Convert Elizabeth Robins
British Dictionary definitions for Zeitgeist


the spirit, attitude, or general outlook of a specific time or period, esp as it is reflected in literature, philosophy, etc
Word Origin
C20: from German, literally: time spirit; see tide1, ghost
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for Zeitgeist



1848, from German Zeitgeist, literally "spirit of the age," from Zeit "time" (see tide) + Geist "spirit" (see ghost).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Zeitgeist in Medicine

Zeitgeist Zeit·geist (tsīt'gīst', zīt'-)
The taste, outlook, and spirit characteristic of a period or generation.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Zeitgeist in Culture
Zeitgeist [(tseyt-geyst, zeyt-geyst)]

The general moral, intellectual, and cultural climate of an era; Zeitgeist is German for “time-spirit.” For example, the Zeitgeist of England in the Victorian period included a belief in industrial progress, and the Zeitgeist of the 1980s in the United States was a belief in the power of money and the many ways in which to spend it.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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