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metaphysics

[met-uh-fiz-iks]
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noun (used with a singular verb)
  1. the branch of philosophy that treats of first principles, includes ontology and cosmology, and is intimately connected with epistemology.
  2. philosophy, especially in its more abstruse branches.
  3. the underlying theoretical principles of a subject or field of inquiry.
  4. (initial capital letter, italics) a treatise (4th century b.c.) by Aristotle, dealing with first principles, the relation of universals to particulars, and the teleological doctrine of causation.
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Origin of metaphysics

1560–70; < Medieval Latin metaphysica < Medieval Greek () metaphysiká (neuter plural), Greek tà metà tà physiká the (works) after the Physics; with reference to the arrangement of Aristotle's writings

metaphysic

[met-uh-fiz-ik]
noun
  1. metaphysics.
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adjective
  1. metaphysical.
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Origin of metaphysic

1350–1400; Middle English metaphisik < Medieval Latin metaphysica (neuter plural); see metaphysics
Related formsun·met·a·phys·ic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for metaphysics

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • That went so far as to cast suspicion on all metaphysics, and somewhat on theology.

  • Metaphysics ought not to exist, do not exist, are a mere nothing.

  • Why should they not work together in Tiptology, as in Physiology and Metaphysics?

    The Book of Khalid

    Ameen Rihani

  • But he has hitherto been unable to make the transition from mathematics to metaphysics.

  • First, the foundation of his argument is laid in the Metaphysics of Aristotle.


British Dictionary definitions for metaphysics

metaphysics

noun (functioning as singular)
  1. the branch of philosophy that deals with first principles, esp of being and knowing
  2. the philosophical study of the nature of reality, concerned with such questions as the existence of God, the external world, etc
  3. See descriptive metaphysics
  4. (popularly) abstract or subtle discussion or reasoning
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Derived Formsmetaphysician (ˌmɛtəfɪˈzɪʃən) or metaphysicist (ˌmɛtəˈfɪzɪsɪst), noun

Word Origin

C16: from Medieval Latin, from Greek ta meta ta phusika the things after the physics, from the arrangement of the subjects treated in the works of Aristotle

metaphysic

noun
  1. the system of first principles and assumptions underlying an enquiry or philosophical theory
  2. an obsolete word for metaphysician
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adjective
  1. rare another word for metaphysical
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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

Word Origin and History for metaphysics

n.

1560s, plural of Middle English metaphisik, methaphesik (late 14c.), "branch of speculation which deals with the first causes of things," from Medieval Latin metaphysica, neuter plural of Medieval Greek (ta) metaphysika, from Greek ta meta ta physika "the (works) after the Physics," title of the 13 treatises which traditionally were arranged after those on physics and natural sciences in Aristotle's writings. The name was given c.70 B.C.E. by Andronicus of Rhodes, and was a reference to the customary ordering of the books, but it was misinterpreted by Latin writers as meaning "the science of what is beyond the physical." See meta- + physics. The word originally was used in English in the singular; plural form predominated after 17c., but singular made a comeback late 19c. in certain usages under German influence.

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metaphysic

n.

late 14c., from Medieval Latin metaphysica (see metaphysics). The usual form of metaphysics until 16c.; somewhat revived 19c. under German influence.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

metaphysics in Culture

metaphysics

The field in philosophy that studies ultimate questions, such as whether every event has a cause and what things are genuinely real.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.