Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The spirit of the time; the taste and outlook characteristic of a period or generation: "It's easy to see how a student . . . in the 1940's could imbibe such notions. The Zeitgeist encouraged Philosopher-Kings” ( James Atlas).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Alternative capitalization of zeitgeist

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The spirit of the time; the general intellectual and moral state or temper characteristic of any period of time.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The spirit or genius of the time; that general drift of thought or feeling which particularly characterizes any period of time: a German word occasionally used in English.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the spirit of the time; the spirit characteristic of an age or generation

Etymologies

German : Zeit, time (from Middle High German zīt, from Old High German; see dā- in Indo-European roots) + Geist, spirit; see poltergeist.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • Pundits employ the term Zeitgeist to describe the temper of the times, the “feel” of a particular era.

    The Barbie Chronicles

  • Zeitgeist is a German word which means 'Time' 'Spirit'.

    Archive 2004-11-01

  • (TSEYT-geyst, ZEYT-geyst) The general moral, intellectual, and cultural climate of an era; Zeitgeist is German for “time-spirit.

    Zeitgeist

  • Along this scheme, though without employing the term Zeitgeist,

    ZEITGEIST

  • Zeitgeist is a German word meaning "spirit of the times."

    Conservapedia - Recent changes [en]

  • I then got to thinking that if these heathen brutes could be introduced to the joys of producing actual musical notes from their hellish plastic pipes there might just be a shift in Zeitgeist amongst them and they might seek to actually make music.

    Global Voices in English » South Africa: To vuvuzela or not to vuvuzela?

  • This goes so much against the Zeitgeist, is so politically incorrect and seems so outrageous to contemporary sensibilities that the Guardian, Daily Mail, Telegraph and Times all carried the story.

    How to hit the headlines with a sermon « Anglican Samizdat

  • Zeitgeist is the general cultural, intellectual, ethical, spiritual, and/or political climate within a nation or even specific groups, along with the general ambience, morals, and sociocultural direction or mood of an era (similar to the English word mainstream or trend).

    Matthew Yglesias » A Sensible Response to Terrorism

  • Zeitgeist is the wrong word ... they lack that 'something' that Enterprise had.

    Six New Star Trek Photos Revealed | /Film

  • Of course Google 2002 Zeitgeist is also a useful monitor of what's been important in the news and culture in the past year, especially the fascinating timeline.

    Archive 2002-12-01

Comments

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  • Agreed! Good to welcome old Wordieniks back!

    March 17, 2011

  • Hi jennarenn and frindley! Wonderful to see you again!

    March 14, 2011

  • Oh bummer, I left my community/Zeitgeist comment over on zeitgeist. Still haven't gotten used to this case-sensitive business.

    March 13, 2011

  • Navigating through this community shouldn't give you any problems, wonderful jennarenn--you wrote a lot of the map.

    Isn't that right, Toonces? Wait--not your right, my right. Oh no! Toonces, look out!

    March 3, 2011

  • The real question is, can I navigate through this "community" like the old Wordie?

    March 3, 2011

  • *snore*

    March 1, 2011

  • haha finally changed it eh? was one of my first suggestions .. doesn't matter, but its more clear to noobs.

    March 1, 2011

  • *cries*

    March 1, 2011

  • I say "Wordie" and you say "Wordnik"
    I say "Zeitgeist" and you say "Community"
    Wordie, Wordnik
    Zeitgeist, Community
    Let's just keep adding words...

    February 25, 2011

  • . . . goodbye tart . . .
    throws wobbler
    throws cupcake
    even throws fuflun?

    February 25, 2011

  • I was so in love with you

    February 25, 2011

  • sweet fairy tooth

    February 25, 2011

  • well hello community lieu

    February 25, 2011

  • dimmock?

    February 25, 2011

  • jean

    February 25, 2011

  • norma?

    February 25, 2011

  • Zeitgeist, goodbye

    February 25, 2011

  • Sionnach, that explains a lot about life here lately. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm being vacuumed back into my wordhole.

    February 21, 2011

  • If you want to see Joel McHale in action on The Soup, see sionnach's link on gold digger.

    February 21, 2011

  • Right now, on Sunday February 20th (or 21st if you live in bilbyland) 2011, you can find the following on a certain leather-eared marsupial's profile:

    about 3 years ago bilby said
    I'll be scarce on Wordie for the rest of January 2007 ... global crossings, unbroadbanded parents, temporal dislocation and all that kind of thing. Hope to be the careless match in your box of firecrackers again too soon!
    *mwah*


    Note the odd discrepancy in dates. What happened to that other year? Bilbo's use of the phrase "temporal dislocation" seems oddly prescient.

    This is, of course, just a very extreme instance of a previously noted phenomenon. Those of us who suffer from an addiction to words and reading are indeed subject to bizarre temporal dislocations - the sudden inexplicable loss of a whole afternoon, in extreme cases, even a three-day weekend. The vanishing of an entire year confirms my suspicion that regular users of Wordie are at a considerable elevated risk for a more severe type of temporal anomaly. My working theory is that Wordie, in its function as a portal to the great wide world of words, tempts regular users - logonauts if you will - to venture farther and farther afield in the lexiverse. This exploration is not risk-free - sometimes an intrepid logonaut may stumble, or be lured, into a wordhole. Though the phenomenon is not fully understood, a wordhole may be thought of as a type of singularity, or tear, in the fabric of the chronolexiverse, sometimes known as a vanwinklerip*. Falling into a wordhole is not necessarily fatal, but the few cases documented in the literature suggest that it is a life-transforming experience -- in addition to the time distortion experienced by survivors, glossolalia is a common side effect, as well as a baffling tendency to identify with small burrowing animals, and a need to hibernate in cold weather. Instances of distorted perception of one's own body size have also been reported (e.g. Swift, Carroll), though care should be taken to distinguish between genuine travel across the chronolexiverse and mere hallucinations following the ingestion of psychoactive agents (Coleridge, Thompson, Castaneda).

    Bilby is one of the lucky ones. Regular site users should be cognizant of the risks associated with extensive, unsupervised wandering in the chronolexiverse. Logonauts beware!

    * as described, e.g. in Irving, W. (1819).

    February 21, 2011

  • Nightflight.

    February 20, 2011

  • zeitgeist = 'uncommon virtual grind(ing)' vs. community = 'common ground'

    February 20, 2011

  • *Rick O'Shea*

    February 20, 2011

  • *fires off a shot*

    February 20, 2011

  • We are all Zeitge-ists in these parts. Zeitgeist may make a good "post mot-ern" zen Western. Pure feistiness!

    February 20, 2011

  • I dunno--I've only watched a couple episodes of the sitcom, but I wouldn't call it bland... besides I've always kind of liked Chevy Chase (and I still sometimes watch Joel McHale on The Soup).

    February 20, 2011

  • *adds a pinch of salt*
    *tastes*
    *spits it out*

    February 20, 2011

  • This is another bland comment.

    February 20, 2011

  • It is bland, I agree.

    Edit: but not as bland as this comment.

    February 20, 2011

  • But 'Community'? Really? Couldn't it be at least a little creative?
    Will newcomers really find a page full of comments on different words easier to understand because it says 'community'?

    February 20, 2011

  • "Community" is better for what is effectively "the comments page". "Zeitgeist" would be good for a comprehensive stats page like on Librarything.

    February 20, 2011

  • community
    American Heritage Dictionary (1)
    1. Middle English communite, citizenry, from Old French, from Latin commūnitās, fellowship, from commūnis, common.

    We're just common.

    February 20, 2011

  • Ha!

    February 20, 2011

  • Are we Commies now? Why does Wordnik hate freedom?

    February 20, 2011

  • Nice thought, ptero. I sure hope you're right, or we're out of here on our padded face holes. :-)

    February 20, 2011

  • Rite-geist - Right-geist - Reit-geist????????????????
    Where is the spirit??????????????????

    February 20, 2011

  • I still think that page should be called "Wordie". But "community" is quite nice and warm too.

    February 20, 2011

  • Well-said, ptero.

    February 20, 2011

  • See, it's the Community page now because we all got together as a community and decided to call it that.
    Hang on, I mean it's because admin had the idea and tossed it out there and we all discussed it a bit and agreed, as a community, that it was swell.
    Hang on, I mean it's because that name just evolved over time as the shiny babboon butt of choice and we had absolutely no attachment to any other names we go by nor the collective cranial candlepower to come up with any suggestions.
    Hang on...

    February 20, 2011

  • I think the change is for the best. I loved "Watch your language" (such a delicious double meaning), but "Community" seems a more accurate description of what we're doing. It'll be easier for newcomers to understand.

    Plus, I feel like by calling us a community, the Wordnik admins are giving their blessing to our tomfoolery and in-jokes. I must admit that at times I've worried about that. I mean, here Erin and John and the rest are trying to build a functional website, and we're hanging around tossing fufluns at people. Can you imagine Erin having to explain to a venture capitalist what a "fuflun" is?

    So, I feel relieved when I see the admins call us a "Community". It's like they're telling us that we have free license to be silly. :-)

    February 20, 2011

  • Community?
    *hork*

    February 19, 2011

  • sleightgeist

    February 19, 2011

  • 'Community' sounds sort of cold to me. The Zeitgeist heading was more Wordie/Wordnik-like. I didn't even know an imperative existed for changing the name.

    February 19, 2011

  • I don't give a foutra anymore.

    February 19, 2011

  • Hernesheir, I noticed that too, and thought my monitor was broken. ;-) I'll also miss Watch Your Language, but as long as Wordnik is still around, I'll live with the change.

    February 19, 2011

  • Bitegeist.

    February 19, 2011

  • the richness of ritual (How rich Y'all!) is often only fully recognized when it is gone.

    February 19, 2011

  • *bites*

    February 19, 2011

  • *wonders why bilby's wearing an 'Eat Me' sign--isn't he endangered?*

    February 19, 2011

  • *sniffs*

    February 19, 2011

  • *places food pellet in open view with 'Eat Me' sign attached*

    February 19, 2011

  • *wanders in expecting a food pellet*
    *presses button*
    *waits*
    *presses button again*
    *waits*

    February 19, 2011

  • 2/19/2011: I miss the Wordnik Zeitgeist - Watch Your Language page link/heading that is suddenly today named "Community".

    While I understand that "Community" is way more evident than "Zeitgeist" and sure to be far less cryptic and confusing to new users, I have grown very fond of the "Watch Your Language" subtitle for the (small "c") "community" page. I would hope that some hybrid of the names of the former Zeitgeist and newly named Community page could be found and displayed....

    February 19, 2011