I've heard this word used a lot lately. I'm sure it's because we've moved into a new year and a new decade. In reflecting on the past ten years people are describing what they felt was the zeitgeist of the 00's.
zeitgeist - the spirit of the time; general trend of thought or feeling characteristic of a particular period of time.
In german zeit is "time", and geist is "spirit". Spirit of the time. Have you heard this word used lately?