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From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Vitals \Vi"tals\, n. pl. 1. Organs that are necessary for life; more especially, the heart, lungs, and brain. [1913 Webster] 2. Fig.: The part essential to the life or health of anything; as, the vitals of a state. "The vitals of the public body." --Glanvill. [1913 Webster]