Word of the Day Archive
Thursday July 22, 1999
Zeitgeist \TSYT-guyst; ZYT-guyst\
[Often capitalized] The spirit of the time; the general intellectual and moral state or temper characteristic of any period of time.
The best writers of that predawn era were originals who had the zeitgeist by the tail.
-- Gary Giddins, Visions of Jazz: The First Century
As most critics and all professors of cultural theory note, Madonna is nothing if not a skilled reader of the zeitgeist.
-- "Techno 'rave' just the same old Madonna", Chicago Sun-Times, March 3, 1998
Besides, the zeitgeist seems to be working against any hope of Hormel officials to limit...the usage of [the word] 'spam' on the Web.
-- "Gracious Concession on Internet 'Spam'", New York Times, August 17, 1998
Like other figures who seem, in retrospect, to have been precociously representative of their times, Kerouac was not simply responding to the Zeitgeist, but to the peculiarly twisted facts of his own upbringing.
-- "Jack Kerouac: The Beat Goes On", New York Times, December 30, 1979
Zeitgeist is from the German: Zeit, "time" + Geist, "spirit."