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."
Popularity Over Time
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.