[kahr-tee-zhuh n]


of or relating to Descartes, his mathematical methods, or his philosophy, especially with regard to its emphasis on logical analysis and its mechanistic interpretation of physical nature.


a follower of Cartesian thought.

Origin of Cartesian

1650–60; < New Latin Cartesiānus, equivalent to Cartesi(us) (Latinization of Descartes) + -ānus -an
Related formsCarte·sian·ism, nounpost-Car·te·sian, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cartesian

Historical Examples of cartesian

  • This is the cause of gravity, according to the Cartesian system.

  • This famous Newton, this destroyer of the Cartesian system, died in March, anno 1727.

  • It may not be without some application to the modern no less than the original Cartesian doctrine.


    John Tulloch

  • Though no longer quite the Cartesian dualism, this is still a dualism.

  • He was expelled from the order at Nantes, for being a Cartesian.

British Dictionary definitions for cartesian



of or relating to the works of René Descartes
of, relating to, or used in Descartes' mathematical systemCartesian coordinates
of, relating to, or derived from Descartes' philosophy, esp his contentions that personal identity consists in the continued existence of a unique mind and that the mind and body are connected causallySee also dualism (def. 2)


a follower of the teachings and methods of Descartes
Derived FormsCartesianism, noun
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 cartesian



1650s, from Cartesius, Latinized form of the name of French philosopher and mathematician René Descartes (1596-1650), + -ian.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper