Vital force
Vital Vi"tal, a. [F., fr. L. vitalis, fr. vita life; akin to vivere to live. See {Vivid}.] 1. Belonging or relating to life, either animal or vegetable; as, vital energies; vital functions; vital actions. [1913 Webster]

2. Contributing to life; necessary to, or supporting, life; as, vital blood. [1913 Webster]

Do the heavens afford him vital food? --Spenser. [1913 Webster]

And vital virtue infused, and vital warmth. --Milton. [1913 Webster]

3. Containing life; living. ``Spirits that live throughout, vital in every part.'' --Milton. [1913 Webster]

4. Being the seat of life; being that on which life depends; mortal. [1913 Webster]

The dart flew on, and pierced a vital part. --Pope. [1913 Webster]

5. Very necessary; highly important; essential. [1913 Webster]

A competence is vital to content. --Young. [1913 Webster]

6. Capable of living; in a state to live; viable. [R.] [1913 Webster]

Pythagoras and Hippocrates . . . affirm the birth of the seventh month to be vital. --Sir T. Browne. [1913 Webster]

{Vital air}, oxygen gas; -- so called because essential to animal life. [Obs.]

{Vital capacity} (Physiol.), the breathing capacity of the lungs; -- expressed by the number of cubic inches of air which can be forcibly exhaled after a full inspiration.

{Vital force}. (Biol.) See under {Force}. The vital forces, according to Cope, are nerve force (neurism), growth force (bathmism), and thought force (phrenism), all under the direction and control of the vital principle. Apart from the phenomena of consciousness, vital actions no longer need to be considered as of a mysterious and unfathomable character, nor vital force as anything other than a form of physical energy derived from, and convertible into, other well-known forces of nature.

{Vital functions} (Physiol.), those functions or actions of the body on which life is directly dependent, as the circulation of the blood, digestion, etc.

{Vital principle}, an immaterial force, to which the functions peculiar to living beings are ascribed.

{Vital statistics}, statistics respecting the duration of life, and the circumstances affecting its duration.

{Vital tripod}. (Physiol.) See under {Tripod}.

{Vital vessels} (Bot.), a name for latex tubes, now disused. See {Latex}. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Vital force — Force Force, n. [F. force, LL. forcia, fortia, fr. L. fortis strong. See {Fort}, n.] 1. Capacity of exercising an influence or producing an effect; strength or energy of body or mind; active power; vigor; might; often, an unusual degree of… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • vital force — n. 1. a basic force or principle regarded as the source and cause of life in living organisms: see VITALISM 2. ÉLAN VITAL: Also called vital principle …   English World dictionary

  • vital force — force of life, life force …   English contemporary dictionary

  • vital force — noun (biology) a hypothetical force (not physical or chemical) once thought by Henri Bergson to cause the evolution and development of organisms • Syn: ↑life force, ↑vitality, ↑elan vital • Derivationally related forms: ↑vital (for: ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • vital force — (Roget s Thesaurus II) noun The vital principle or animating force within living beings: breath, divine spark, élan vital, life force, psyche, soul, spirit, vitality. See BODY …   English dictionary for students

  • vital force — vi′tal force′ n. 1) Also called vi′tal prin′ciple. the force that animates and perpetuates living beings and organisms. 2) élan vital …   From formal English to slang

  • vital force — the force that animates and perpetuates living beings and organisms. Also called vital principle. * * * …   Universalium

  • vital force — /vaɪtl ˈfɔs/ (say vuytl faws) noun the animating force in animals and plants. Also, vital principle …   Australian English dictionary

  • vital force — the energy that characterizes a living organism. Most systems of complementary medicine seek to affect or to use this energy. Called also vital energy …   Medical dictionary

  • vital force — noun the energy or spirit which animates living creatures …   English new terms dictionary

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