Definitions

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

  • n. The capacity to live, grow, or develop: plants that lost their vitality when badly pruned.
  • n. Physical or intellectual vigor; energy. See Synonyms at vigor.
  • n. The characteristic, principle, or force that distinguishes living things from nonliving things.
  • n. Power to survive: the vitality of an old tradition.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The capacity to live and develop
  • n. Energy or vigour
  • n. That which distinguishes living from nonliving things; life, animateness

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The quality or state of being vital; the principle of life; vital force; animation.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. I. The exhibiting of vital powers or capacities; the principle of animation or of life; vital force. See life.
  • n. Manifestation of a capacity for enduring and performing certain functions: as, an institution devoid of vitality.

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

  • n. an energetic style
  • n. (biology) a hypothetical force (not physical or chemical) once thought by Henri Bergson to cause the evolution and development of organisms
  • n. a healthy capacity for vigorous activity
  • n. the property of being able to survive and grow

Etymologies

From French vitalité, from Latin vitalitas ("vital force, life"), from vitalis ("vital"); see vital. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • And finally, both Lord Robertson and Secretary of State Powell pointed to what they called the vitality and the relevance of NATO, and said any damage done to the reputation of NATO over the last couple weeks can quite, in their words, be easily overcome.

    CNN Transcript Feb 20, 2003

  • Professor Huxley himself has told us that he lived in 'the hope and the faith that in course of time we shall see our way from the constituents of the protoplasm to its properties,' _i. e._ from carbonic acid, water, and ammonia to that mysterious thing which we call vitality or life -- from the molecular motion of the brain to Socratic wisdom,

    The Faust-Legend and Goethe's 'Faust'

  • The strongest, the most amply endowed with what we call vitality or power to live, win.

    The Last Harvest

  • But the thought that it is mechanics and chemistry applied by something of which they as such, form no part, some agent or principle which we call vitality, is welcome to us.

    The Breath of Life

  • "The Indian savages," said Margrave, sullenly, "have not a health as perfect as mine, and in what you call vitality -- the blissful consciousness of life -- they are as sticks and stones compared to me."

    A Strange Story — Volume 02

  • Nouns of this type are characterized by vitality but not by the same kind of animacy that Swahili-speakers assign to humans or animals.

    The English Is Coming!

  • Just what I need – increased regulation, higher deficits (and they were plenty high already), a complete misreading of how to deal with Afghanistan (more troops – like the British and Russian campaigns there never happened), and the sclerotic hands of government unions to suck the remaining vitality from the system.

    Matthew Yglesias » Zero

  • The latter seems unlikely, since it would require undoing fateful decisions that MySpace made several years ago, decisions that made good sense at the time but have since been draining vitality from the company.

    Why MySpace Is Really GeoCities 2.0

  • If how you are taking care of your body now will support your long-term vitality and help slow down your aging, then go for it, otherwise you need to change some habits before it's too late.

    Sophie Keller: How Happy Is Your Health?

  • The economy continues to limp along, and from the debate in this U.S. election season, it seems as though the path to restoring economic vitality is terra incognita.

    Aron Cramer: Sustainable Excellence: The Future of Business in a Fast-Changing World

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