Part of speech: noun
Origin: German, mid-19th century
The defining spirit or mood of a particular period of history as shown by the ideas and beliefs of the time.
Examples of Zeitgeist in a sentence
"She wanted to embrace the zeitgeist of the 1980s for her birthday party."
"The bestselling book captured the zeitgeist of the college experience."
It seems like there’s always a German word to express what we don’t have a word for in English. In the case of zeitgeist, you’re capturing a particular mood or characteristics of a certain era. In German, “zeit” means time and “geist” is the spirit.
Did you Know?
If you see a flapper dress you think of the 1920s. Hippie bell bottoms bring to mind the 1960s. Hoop skirts will place a woman in the mid-19th century. Articles of clothing can quickly identify a period of time, but other things such as music, political ideas, and philosophies will also define the zeitgeist of a generation.