Definition of elan in English:


(also élan)

Pronunciation: /eɪˈlan//eɪˈlɒ̃/


  • [mass noun] Energy, style, and enthusiasm:

    ‘they performed with uncommon elan onstage’
    • ‘Whether it be the ‘banjara’ dance or a vigorous Bhangra, the kids aged between three and four years performed with certain elan.’
    • ‘The comments on initiative and its relation to elan are equally mysterious since, by most interpretations, elan refers to vigor and enthusiasm and has no necessary connection with initiative.’
    • ‘The victory of Georgia was greeted with typical elan by Kerr: ‘It's fantastic news.’’
    • ‘But he has continued with the same elan and a quiet determination.’
    • ‘The Scots, however, had lost the dash and elan of the first half, and it took a sublime one-two from Taylor and Paterson to strike the killer blow.’
    • ‘But what makes it grand is the sheer class and elan of the service.’
    • ‘In far off India, Gandhi's barefoot army took on the armed might of the British Empire with as much elan as Ethiopian armed forces defeated the Italians at Adowa in 1896.’
    • ‘The sand bed, which the master insisted upon for aiding effective footwork, will retain for long impressions of hordes of creatures moving around, with elan and grace.’
    • ‘The concept of a restaurant which supports the homeless with flair and elan is an excellent one and I admire the company's ambitions.’
    • ‘In much the same way Kathakali eclipses other dance forms by its grandeur, Koman shadows all other personae, even though they are woven in a style combining ease and elan.’
    • ‘Our loss of improvisational elan can be dated to 1989.’
    • ‘Knowing, sophisticated elan is, in fact, notable by its absence.’
    • ‘His tales aren't rhythmic and quiet narrations, but explosive stories of passion and elan.’
    • ‘It is often the case with major parts: what one gains with age and experience one loses with youthful fire and elan.’
    • ‘To see the skills, elan and passion of that multi-ethnic product in action on Wednesday night was uplifting and enlightening in equal measure.’
    • ‘On the other hand there are those swaggering artistes of the Left Bank, the champions of France and a side whose rise has been based on elan and poise.’
    • ‘Mr. Marcose has a robust voice, which he modulates with uncommon ease and elan.’
    • ‘The owners carried them around with such care and elan that visitors looked at the dogs with envy.’
    • ‘Individually, the calls did nothing to dampen my elan but something big and terrible happened after I pressed the ‘End’ button on the third one.’
    • ‘Though he speaks with a slight New York accent, he has cultivated a certain European elan, favoring well-tailored suits and shirts with French cuffs.’
    flair, stylishness, smartness, elegance, grace, gracefulness, poise, polish, suaveness, sophistication, urbanity, chic, finesse, panache, flourish, taste
    vigour, energy, pep, dynamism, forcefulness, force, strength, determination, motivation, push, vehemence, fanaticism, go, vitality, vivacity, buoyancy, liveliness, animation, sprightliness, zest, sparkle, effervescence, fizz, verve, spirit, spiritedness, ebullience, life, dash, brio
    enthusiasm, eagerness, keenness, passion, zeal, fervour, relish, gusto, feeling, ardour, fire, fieriness, drive
    class, pizzazz, ritziness, zing, zip, vim, punch, get-up-and-go, oomph, feistiness
    View synonyms


Mid 19th century: from French élan, from élancer to dart, from é- out + lancer to throw.