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vital (adj.)

late 14c., "of or manifesting life," from Latin vitalis "of or belonging to life," from vita "life," related to vivere "to live," from PIE root *gwei- "to live." The sense of "necessary or important" is from 1610s, via the notion of "essential to life" (late 15c.). Vital capacity recorded from 1852. Related: Vitally.