top of page



How to pronounce zeitgeist (audio)


Monster Trucks in Space

Download your free e-book. Promotion ends tomorrow.

Dictionary definition of zeitgeist

The general cultural, intellectual, and moral climate of a particular era or time period.
"The film is a reflection of the Zeitgeist of the era in which it was made."

Detailed meaning of zeitgeist

German for "the spirit of the times." It refers to the dominant ideas, values, beliefs and moods that characterize a specific historical period. The Zeitgeist is a reflection of the cultural, social, and economic influences that shape the way people think and behave.

The concept of Zeitgeist has been used in a variety of fields, including history, sociology, and cultural studies, to understand and explain the social and cultural changes that occur over time. It is often used to describe the intellectual and cultural trends of a specific era, such as the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, or the Industrial Revolution.

In contemporary use, the term Zeitgeist is often used to describe the dominant trends, values and beliefs of a specific era or generation. It can also be used to describe how an event, idea or product reflects the current state of society.

In general, Zeitgeist refers to the general cultural, intellectual, and moral climate or atmosphere of a particular era or time period, it is a reflection of the dominant ideas, values, beliefs and moods that characterize a specific historical period and shape the way people think and behave.

Example sentences containing zeitgeist

1. The zeitgeist of the 1960s was characterized by social and political upheaval.
2. Understanding the zeitgeist of a decade requires examining its art and literature.
3. The music of a period often reflects the prevailing zeitgeist.
4. The zeitgeist of the Victorian era emphasized strict social norms.
5. Technology is a key driver in shaping the modern zeitgeist.
6. The fashion of the 1920s embodied the rebellious zeitgeist of the Roaring Twenties.

History and etymology of zeitgeist

The noun 'zeitgeist' has a rich etymology rooted in the German language. It is formed by combining two German words: 'zeit,' meaning 'time,' and 'geist,' meaning 'spirit' or 'mind.' 'Zeitgeist' translates directly to 'time spirit' or 'spirit of the age.' This term was popularized by the German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and later by other German intellectuals in the 18th and 19th centuries to describe the prevailing cultural, intellectual, and moral climate of a specific era or time period. It suggests that each historical epoch is characterized by its own unique set of ideas, values, and attitudes that collectively define the spirit or essence of that era. The etymology of 'zeitgeist' underscores its focus on capturing the spirit of a particular time in history, emphasizing the dynamic and evolving nature of culture and society.

Quiz: Find the meaning of zeitgeist

Try Again!


Further usage examples of zeitgeist

1. The internet has transformed the global zeitgeist in the 21st century.
2. Literature can serve as a mirror to the zeitgeist of its time.
3. The zeitgeist of the Renaissance was marked by a thirst for knowledge.
4. Art movements like Surrealism captured the surrealistic zeitgeist of their era.
5. The zeitgeist of the Cold War era was defined by ideological tension.
6. The counterculture of the 1960s challenged the prevailing zeitgeist.
7. The zeitgeist of the Enlightenment championed reason and individualism.
8. Political events often shape the zeitgeist of a nation.
9. The zeitgeist of the Great Depression was one of economic hardship.
10. The zeitgeist of the Industrial Revolution transformed societies.
11. The zeitgeist of the 1980s was influenced by consumerism and materialism.
12. Advances in science and technology reflect the zeitgeist of progress.
13. The zeitgeist of the ancient world was shaped by mythology and religion.
14. Fashion trends can provide insights into the zeitgeist of a period.
15. The zeitgeist of the post-war era was marked by a desire for stability.
16. Film and television capture the zeitgeist of popular culture.
17. The protest movements of the 1960s embodied the zeitgeist of change.
18. Social media has become a platform for expressing the contemporary zeitgeist.
19. The zeitgeist of the digital age is characterized by rapid change and connectivity.



spirit of the age, stagnation, tradition, unchangeableness


ACT 16 (American College Testing), SAT 16 (Scholastic Assessment Test), Influence and Persuasion

bottom of page