Definition of zeitgeber in English:



  • A cue given by the environment, such as a change in light or temperature, to reset the internal body clock.

    • ‘And while light is a common zeitgeber, other external stimuli can play this role as well.’
    • ‘Much remains to be learned about zeitgebers for these tissues.’
    • ‘Consider one zeitgeber that virtually all businesses share: the quarterly business calendar.’
    • ‘The major zeitgebers pertinent to athletic performance include diet, daylight and temperature, exercise, social interactions, and drugs.’
    • ‘You are in conflict with all of the zeitgebers around you, and your need to work preserves this conflict.’
    • ‘Scientists call external time cues zeitgebers.’
    • ‘All zeitgebers mirror the cycle length of the earth's rotation and they therefore shaped circadian systems as they evolved.’
    • ‘In the natural environment, there is often more than one zeitgeber acting at the same time.’
    • ‘Several candidates have been suggested as the zeitgebers for peripheral clocks, including glucocorticoids, retinoic acid and melatonin.’
    • ‘Future studies will be required to answer these important questions, as well to identify the major zeitgebers affecting the circadian clock of the heart.’
    signal, sign, indication, prompt, reminder, prompting
    View synonyms


Mid 20th century: from German Zeitgeber, from Zeit ‘time’ + Geber ‘giver’.