Throughout time, the spirit of the word zeitgeist has made many diachronic changes. A word used by pundits to describe pop culture, its definition is "the defining spirit or mood of a time" and it unsurprisingly is also a German word, one from which the English term was borrowed. This, like many long German words, is a portmanteau; in this case of zeit, meaning "time", and geist, meaning "spirit". Whatever the spirit of the time is: it makes sense! However, the "spirit" of geist goes back for more supernatural origins. This comes from the Proto-Germanic word gaistaz, which may sound familiar because it's also the root of yesterday's word, ghost. This, as we already found out, comes from the Proto-Indo-European word for "anger", gheysd. The zeit part really emphasizes the current definition, as it means "time", from the older word zit, which in turn stems from the Proto-Germanic word tidiz, which through a couple reconstructed transliterations, stems from the Proto-Indo-European word for "time", dih. This etymology, as can be traced to "angry time" is really funny when the aforementioned pundits talk about a "xenophobic zeitgeist" or something of the sort.
Adam Aleksic is a 218-month-old, 2800-ounce high school senior with disturbing interests in etymology, vexillology, geography, board games, limericks, and law. Adam is anxiously awaiting his college rejections and loves writing about himself in the third person.
The Etymology Nerd