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[dahy-uh-lek-tik] /ˌdaɪ əˈlɛk tɪk/
adjective, Also, dialectical.
of, relating to, or of the nature of logical argumentation.
the art or practice of logical discussion as employed in investigating the truth of a theory or opinion.
logical argumentation.
Often, dialectics.
  1. logic or any of its branches.
  2. any formal system of reasoning or thought.
dialectics, (often used with a singular verb) the arguments or bases of dialectical materialism, including the elevation of matter over mind and a constantly changing reality with a material basis.
(in Kantian epistemology) a fallacious metaphysical system arising from the attribution of objective reality to the perceptions by the mind of external objects.
the juxtaposition or interaction of conflicting ideas, forces, etc.
Origin of dialectic
1350-1400; Middle English (< Anglo-French) < Latin dialectica < Greek dialektikḗ (téchnē) argumentative (art), feminine of dialektikós. See dialect, -ic
Related forms
dialectically, adverb
nondialectic, adjective, noun
Can be confused
dialectal, dialectic, dialectical (see usage note at dialectal) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for dialectic
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But after this he has no more to say; the answers which he makes are only elicited from him by the dialectic of Socrates.

    The Republic Plato
  • What, then, is the nature of dialectic, and what are the paths which lead thither?'

    The Republic Plato
  • Viewed subjectively, it is the process or science of dialectic.

    The Republic Plato
  • The dialogues of Plato are themselves examples of the nature and method of dialectic.

    The Republic Plato
  • I was too soon diverted from the abstractions of dialectic to geometry.

    Theaetetus Plato
British Dictionary definitions for dialectic


disputation or debate, esp intended to resolve differences between two views rather than to establish one of them as true
  1. the conversational Socratic method of argument
  2. (in Plato) the highest study, that of the Forms
(in the writings of Kant) the exposure of the contradictions implicit in applying empirical concepts beyond the limits of experience
(philosophy) the process of reconciliation of contradiction either of beliefs or in historical processes See also Hegelian dialectic, dialectical materialism
of or relating to logical disputation
Derived Forms
dialectician, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Latin dialectica, from Greek dialektikē (tekhnē) (the art) of argument; see dialect
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for dialectic

1580s, earlier dialatik (late 14c.), from Old French dialectique (12c.), from Latin dialectica, from Greek dialektike (techne) "(art of) philosophical discussion or discourse," fem. of dialektikos "of conversation, discourse," from dialektos "discourse, conversation" (see dialect). Originally synonymous with logic; in modern philosophy refined by Kant, then by Hegel, who made it mean "process of resolving or merging contradictions in character." Related: Dialectics.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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