[kat-i-gawr-ee, -gohr-ee]
See more synonyms for category on
noun, plural cat·e·go·ries.
  1. any general or comprehensive division; a class.
  2. a classificatory division in any field of knowledge, as a phylum or any of its subdivisions in biology.
  3. Metaphysics.
    1. (in Aristotelian philosophy) any of the fundamental modes of existence, such as substance, quality, and quantity, as determined by analysis of the different possible kinds of predication.
    2. (in Kantian philosophy) any of the fundamental principles of the understanding, as the principle of causation.
    3. any classification of terms that is ultimate and not susceptible to further analysis.
  4. categories. Also called Guggenheim. (used with a singular verb) a game in which a key word and a list of categories, as dogs, automobiles, or rivers, are selected, and in which each player writes down a word in each category that begins with each of the letters of the key word, the player writing down the most words within a time limit being declared the winner.
  5. Mathematics. a type of mathematical object, as a set, group, or metric space, together with a set of mappings from such an object to other objects of the same type.
  6. Grammar. part of speech.

Origin of category

1580–90; < Late Latin catēgoria < Greek katēgoría “accusation” (in logic, “predication”), from katēgoreîn “to accuse, affirm,” equivalent to kata- cata- + agoreúein “to speak before the agora1” + -ia -y3

Synonyms for category

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for category

Contemporary Examples of category

Historical Examples of category

  • The second point in this category is own cousin to the above.

    The Dramatic Values in Plautus

    Wilton Wallace Blancke

  • They belong entirely to the category of what is wise to realize good.

    Slavery Ordained of God

    Rev. Fred A. Ross, D.D.

  • D--n the rogues; I thought at one time they had me in a category!

    Homeward Bound

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • Also there is a touch of irony in them, which takes them out of the category of sophistry.



  • Such changes do not come under the category of profiteering.

    Herbert Hoover

    Vernon Kellogg

British Dictionary definitions for category


noun plural -ries
  1. a class or group of things, people, etc, possessing some quality or qualities in common; a division in a system of classification
  2. metaphysics any one of the most basic classes into which objects and concepts can be analysed
    1. (in the philosophy of Aristotle) any one of ten most fundamental modes of being, such as quantity, quality, and substance
    2. (in the philosophy of Kant) one of twelve concepts required by human beings to interpret the empirical world
    3. any set of objects, concepts, or expressions distinguished from others within some logical or linguistic theory by the intelligibility of a specific set of statements concerning themSee also category mistake

Word Origin for category

C15: from Late Latin catēgoria, from Greek katēgoria, from kategorein to accuse, assert
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 category

1580s, from Middle French catégorie, from Late Latin categoria, from Greek kategoria "accusation, prediction, category," verbal noun from kategorein "to speak against; to accuse, assert, predicate," from kata "down to" (or perhaps "against;" see cata-) + agoreuein "to harangue, to declaim (in the assembly)," from agora "public assembly" (see agora). Original sense of "accuse" weakened to "assert, name" by the time Aristotle applied kategoria to his 10 classes of things that can be named.

category should be used by no-one who is not prepared to state (1) that he does not mean class, & (2) that he knows the difference between the two .... [Fowler]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper