AskDefine | Define vitals

Dictionary Definition

vitals n : a bodily organ that is essential for life [syn: vital organ]

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Noun

vitals (plural)
  1. Those organs of the body that are essential for life.
  2. In the context of "pluralia tantum|figurative": Those parts of a system without which it cannot function.
  3. In the context of "medicine|pluralia tantum": vital signs

Quotations

  • 1827 Ann Hasseltine Judson - An account of the American Baptist mission to the Burman empire
    they were ripped open from the lowest to the highest extremity of the stomach, and their vitals and part of their bowels were hanging out
  • 2003 David R Woodward - Trial by Friendship: Anglo-American Relations, 1917-1918
    This final victory can only be had by reaching the vitals of Germany and by destroying her armed forces.
  • 1991 Suzy Szasz - Living With It: Why You Don't Have to Be Healthy to Be Happy
    At least once an hour a nurse came into the room, either to check on me or my roommate, or to take vitals

Derived terms

Extensive Definition

This article is about the 2002 novel. For other uses, see Vital
It centres on Hal Cousins, a scientist who wishes to find a way to prevent death. He gets his funding from what he calls "angels" - rich businessmen who are keen to live a thousand years. However, on a fact-finding exploration in a small submarine, his pilot goes beserk, start spouting gibberish, and tries to kill him. He survives, but when he gets back to the ship, he finds that a member of the crew also went mad and started spouting gibberish, killing more scientists onboard the ship. The rest of the crew is distant from him, on the grounds of what he calls bad mojo. He is disowned by the plutocrat in question. Hal's twin brother Rob is shot, by who is later revealed to be Ben Bridger.
The story develops from there, taking in his twin brother's widow, Lissa; Rudy Banning, a once respected professor and writer turned into an anti-semitic conspiracy theorist by a brain-altering microbe; and a scheming group of immortals who want to stay unique. They are able to do this because they have access to bacteriological research by Russian scientist Maxim Golokhov from the 1940s who was working for Beria and Stalin. Stalin possibly cameos in the story, but the issue is left vague.
There are five parts with different first-person narrators. Parts one, three, and five are narrated by Hal Cousins, and parts two and four are narrated by Benjamin Bridger.
By the end of the book, the main characters are all either dead, irrelevant, or the victim of mind altering xenophages.
Some elements of the book relate to transhumanism and life extension. Biology is a major theme in Bear's work, and bacteria and bacterial intelligence played a central role in his 1983 novel Blood Music as well.

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

abdomen, anus, appendix, blind gut, bosom, bowels, brain, breast, cecum, center, center of life, colon, core, deepest recesses, duodenum, endocardium, entrails, esoteric reality, foregut, giblets, gizzard, guts, heart, heart of hearts, hindgut, inmost heart, inmost soul, innards, inner, inner landscape, inner life, inner man, inner mechanism, inner nature, inner recess, inner self, inside, insides, interior, interior man, intern, internal, internals, intestine, intrados, inward, inwards, jejunum, kidney, kishkes, large intestine, liver, liver and lights, lung, midgut, nerve center, penetralia, perineum, pump, pylorus, quick, recesses, rectum, secret heart, secret place, secret places, small intestine, soul, spirit, spleen, stomach, ticker, tripes, true being, true inwardness, vermiform appendix, viscera, vital center, vital principle, works
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