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Meaning of conatus

co•na•tus

Pronunciation: (kō-nā'tus), [key]
— pl. -tus.
  1. an effort or striving.
  2. a force or tendency simulating a human effort.
  3. (in the philosophy of Spinoza) the force in every animate creature toward the preservation of its existence.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.