Etymology
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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.

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Definitions of vital

vital (adj.)
urgently needed; absolutely necessary;
of vital interest
vital for a healthy society
Synonyms: critical
vital (adj.)
performing an essential function in the living body;
a vital spot
the loss of vital heat in shock
blood and other vital fluids
vital organs
Synonyms: life-sustaining
vital (adj.)
full of spirit; full of life;
a vital and charismatic leader
Synonyms: lively
vital (adj.)
manifesting or characteristic of life;
a vital, living organism
vital signs
From wordnet.princeton.edu