• synonyms


adjective Also dialectical.
  1. of, relating to, or of the nature of logical argumentation.
  2. dialectal.
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  1. the art or practice of logical discussion as employed in investigating the truth of a theory or opinion.
  2. logical argumentation.
  3. Often dialectics.
    1. logic or any of its branches.
    2. any formal system of reasoning or thought.
  4. Hegelian dialectic.
  5. 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.
  6. (in Kantian epistemology) a fallacious metaphysical system arising from the attribution of objective reality to the perceptions by the mind of external objects.Compare transcendental dialectic.
  7. the juxtaposition or interaction of conflicting ideas, forces, etc.
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Origin of dialectic

1350–1400; Middle English (< Anglo-French) < Latin dialectica < Greek dialektikḗ (téchnē) argumentative (art), feminine of dialektikós. See dialect, -ic
Related formsdi·a·lec·ti·cal·ly, adverbnon·di·a·lec·tic, adjective, noun
Can be confuseddialectal dialectic dialectical (see usage note at dialectal)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for dialectically

Historical Examples

  • Dialectically, the distinction is interesting and seems harmless.

    Reconstruction in Philosophy

    John Dewey

  • Their languages are said to differ somewhat, but only dialectically.

  • I should not anticipate difficulty in showing that this doctrine is, dialectically, a mass of inconsistencies.

    Creative Intelligence

    John Dewey, Addison W. Moore, Harold Chapman Brown, George H. Mead, Boyd H. Bode, Henry Waldgrave, Stuart James, Hayden Tufts, Horace M. Kallen

  • Dialectically he was on this occasion more than a match for Chase and Seward.

    Stephen A. Douglas

    Allen Johnson

  • His strategy was characteristic of his cause, but he was dialectically within his rights.

    Charles Bradlaugh: a Record of His Life and Work, Volume II (of 2)

    Hypatia Bradlaugh Bonner and J. M. (John Mackinnon) Robertson

British Dictionary definitions for dialectically


  1. disputation or debate, esp intended to resolve differences between two views rather than to establish one of them as true
  2. philosophy
    1. the conversational Socratic method of argument
    2. (in Plato) the highest study, that of the Forms
  3. (in the writings of Kant) the exposure of the contradictions implicit in applying empirical concepts beyond the limits of experience
  4. philosophy the process of reconciliation of contradiction either of beliefs or in historical processesSee also Hegelian dialectic, dialectical materialism
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  1. of or relating to logical disputation
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Derived Formsdialectician, 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

Word Origin and History for dialectically



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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper