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lifeblood (n.)

also life-blood, 1580s, "blood necessary for life," from life (n.) + blood (n.). Figurative and transferred use for "that which is essential to the life or strength of, that which gives vitality to" is from 1590s.

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Definitions of lifeblood from WordNet

lifeblood (n.)
the blood considered as the seat of vitality;
lifeblood (n.)
an essential or life-giving force;
water is the lifeblood of India
From wordnet.princeton.edu