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From Biology-Online Dictionary | Biology-Online Dictionary
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1. Belonging or relating to life, either animal or vegetable; as, vital energies; vital functions; vital actions.

2. Contributing to life; necessary to, or supporting, life; as, vital blood. Do the heavens afford him vital food? (Spenser) And vital virtue infused, and vital warmth. (milton)

3. Containing life; living. Spirits that live throughout, vital in every part.

4. Being the seat of life; being that on which life depends; mortal. The dart flew on, and pierced a vital part. (pope)

5. Very necessary; highly important; essential. A competence is vital to content. (young)

6. Capable of living; in a state to live; viable. Pythagoras and hippocrates . . . Affirm the birth of the seventh month to be vital. (Sir T. Browne) Vital air, oxygen gas; so called because essential to animal life.

(Science: physiology) vital capacity, 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.

(Science: biology) See tripod.

(Science: botany) Vital vessels, a name for latex tubes, now disused. See Latex.

Origin: F, fr. L. Vitalis, fr. Vita life; akin to vivere to live. See Vivid.