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[kat-i-gawr-i-kuhl, -gor-]
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  1. without exceptions or conditions; absolute; unqualified and unconditional: a categorical denial.
  2. Logic.
    1. (of a proposition) analyzable into a subject and an attribute related by a copula, as in the proposition “All humans are mortal.”
    2. (of a syllogism) having categorical propositions as premises.
  3. of, relating to, or in a category.
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Also cat·e·gor·ic.

Origin of categorical

1590–1600; < Late Latin catēgoric(us) (< Greek katēgorikós; see category, -ic) + -al1
Related formscat·e·gor·i·cal·ly, adverbcat·e·gor·i·cal·ness, nounnon·cat·e·gor·i·cal, adjectivenon·cat·e·gor·i·cal·ly, adverbnon·cat·e·gor·i·cal·ness, nounun·cat·e·gor·i·cal, adjectiveun·cat·e·gor·i·cal·ly, adverbun·cat·e·gor·i·cal·ness, noun


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for categorical



  1. unqualified; positive; unconditionala categorical statement
  2. relating to or included in a category
  3. logic another word for categorial
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Derived Formscategorically, adverbcategoricalness, 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 categorical


1590s, as a term in logic, "unqualified, asserting absolutely," from Late Latin categoricus, from Greek kategorikos "accusatory, affirmative, categorical," from kategoria (see category). General sense of "explicit, unconditional" is from 1610s. Categorical imperative, from the philosophy of Kant, first recorded 1827. Related: Categorically.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper