Zeitgeist is the spirit or essence of a particular time. In the 1920s, flappers and speakeasies contributed to that era's Zeitgeist.

Zeitgeist is a word that comes straight from German — zeit means "time" and geist means spirit, and the "spirit of the time" is what's going on culturally, religiously, or intellectually during a certain period. Think about how something like Woodstock symbolized the 1960s: Woodstock was part of the Zeitgeist of the 1960s. Whatever seems particular to or symbolic of a certain time is likely part of its Zeitgeist.

Definitions of Zeitgeist
  1. noun
    the spirit of the time; the spirit characteristic of an age or generation
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    type of:
    feel, feeling, flavor, flavour, look, smell, spirit, tone
    the general atmosphere of a place or situation and the effect that it has on people
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