All Words > Zeitgeist

Tuesday, May 5



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."

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About Zeitgeist

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.

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