(Both vowel sounds are a long I as in "kite."
Pronounce the "g" normally as in "game.")
Part of speech:
(Countable nouns, like “bottle,” “piece,” and “decision,” are words for things that can be broken into exact units. You talk about “a bottle,” “three pieces,” and “many decisions.”
Likewise, talk about one zeitgeist or multiple zeitgeists.)
A zeitgeist is the mood or spirit of a particular time in history.
In other words, it's the way people thought and felt at a specific point in time.
Its literal meaning is "spirit of the times."
You can make it plural, "zeitgeists," but that's rare.
How to use it:
Because we borrowed this word from German, a language that demands capital letters for all nouns, you can capitalize "Zeitgeist" if you want to stay true to its source. Most folks use a lowercase, though: "zeitgeist."
Talk about "a zeitgeist" or "the zeitgeist" in general, like in "Kids today isolate themselves and don't share a zeitgeist," or say "a/the (noun or adjective) zeitgeist" as in "a hipster zeitgeist" and "the chivalrous zeitgeist." Talk about "a/the zeitgeist of something," as in "the zeitgeist of 90s grunge." A zeitgeist can belong to someone (usually a group of people), as in "That racism doesn't fit with our zeitgeist." Something can portray, capture, or display the zeitgeist--or fail to-- as in "The film was so understated that it failed to capture the zeitgeist of the glitzy 1980s." Finally, something can become part of the zeitgeist, work its way into the zeitgeist, and so on, as in "Zombie fiction has lurched its way into the zeitgeist."
Brian had a hard time keeping sync with the technological zeitgeist; he did all his research with a set of hardback encyclopedias.
The zeitgeist of the Civil War era lives on amongst reenactors, but as for me, I'm grateful to keep myself far from the sound of rifles and out of a hoopskirt.
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You'll know you understand what "zeitgeist" means when you can explain it without saying "essence" or "generation."
Think of a time period from history that interests you--either before or after you were born-- and fill in the blanks: "To really grasp the zeitgeist of (time period), you've got to (listen to/read/watch) _____.”
Example: “To really grasp the zeitgeist of the 1990s, you've got to watch the movie Clueless.”
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don't go straight to the review now; let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
This month's game is "Guess the real pop song title when I give you a long-winded, highfalutin version of it." All the answers this month will be titles of popular songs released no earlier than 2012. Try it out each day and see the right answer the next day. We're playing this in order to appreciate the simple, precise vocabulary of pop song titles, despite how often they are criticized for being sappy, trite, and simplistic.
Yesterday’s answer: “Entirely Focused on the Deeper Musical Tones” is really "All About That Bass" by Meghan Trainor.
Try this one today: “Experiencing Unsettling Feelings of Covetousness”
A Point Well Made:
Barb Crowley Madruga: “I want to say some things about my experience with cancer. ‘Experience,’ not ‘battle’ or ‘fight.’… My life [has been] enriched to levels I never would have expected. I became ill, and was surrounded by so much love. So much that you could just reach out and touch it.”
1. The opposite of ZEITGEIST is
C. LIVING BEING
2. History reveals this: anyone who _____ the zeitgeist risks not just criticism but persecution.
A. shamelessly falls in line with
B. challenges the core beliefs of
C. fails to understand
Answers are below.
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Make Your Point is crafted with love and brought to you each day for free by Mrs. Liesl Johnson, M.Ed., a word lover, learning enthusiast, and private tutor of reading and writing in the verdant little town of Hilo, Hawaii. For writing tips, online learning, essay guidance, and more, please visit www.HiloTutor.com.
Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.
Answers to review questions:
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