Definition of zeitgeist in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈzʌɪtɡʌɪst/


[in singular]
The defining spirit or mood of a particular period of history as shown by the ideas and beliefs of the time: the story captured the zeitgeist of the late 1960s
More example sentences
  • When the young Beethoven arrived in Vienna in 1792, the musical zeitgeist was defined by Haydn and Mozart.
  • In many ways the Perrons' story captured the zeitgeist last year.
  • The stories capture the zeitgeist of the experience, if not the objective reality.



adjective ( informal)
Example sentences
  • To hear some people talk, their subsequent actions amount to a cautionary tale about this most zeitgeisty side of modern capitalism.
  • Hitching a lift on such a zeitgeisty channel could be the making of a rookie presenter's career.
  • The idea of "respect" in politics seemed so zeitgeisty a couple of years ago but today it's almost a dirty word.


Mid 19th century: from German Zeitgeist, from Zeit 'time' + Geist 'spirit'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: zeit|geist

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