[guh-shtahlt, -shtawlt, -stahlt, -stawlt]

noun, plural ge·stalts, ge·stal·ten [guh-shtahl-tn, -shtawl-, -stahl-, -stawl-] /gəˈʃtɑl tn, -ˈʃtɔl-, -ˈstɑl-, -ˈstɔl-/. (sometimes initial capital letter) Psychology.

a configuration, pattern, or organized field having specific properties that cannot be derived from the summation of its component parts; a unified whole.
an instance or example of such a unified whole.

Origin of gestalt

1920–25; < German: figure, form, structure Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for gestalt

Contemporary Examples of gestalt

Historical Examples of gestalt

  • Momentarily, the gestalt fails, but the true moment of sight passes.


    Robert Sheckley

  • His interest was not in Gestalt or fixed form, Bildung or form change.

    Form and Function

    E. S. (Edward Stuart) Russell

  • The cognitive sum total is of a Gestalt nature-much higher than the sum of its parts.

  • Perls transformed the Gestalt psychologists' central idea so it would serve as a basis for his approach to psychotherapy.

  • If his action is successful, his Gestalt is closed: the problem is resolved, and the motivation is fulfilled.

British Dictionary definitions for gestalt


noun plural -stalts or -stalten (-ˈʃtæltən)

(sometimes not capital) a perceptual pattern or structure possessing qualities as a whole that cannot be described merely as a sum of its partsSee also Gestalt psychology

Word Origin for Gestalt

C20: German: form, from Old High German stellen to shape
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 gestalt


1922, from German Gestaltqualität (1890, introduced by German philosopher Christian von Ehrenfels, 1859-1932), from German gestalt "shape, form, figure, configuration, appearance," abstracted from ungestalt "deformity," noun use of adj. ungestalt "misshapen," from gestalt, obsolete past participle of stellen "to place, arrange" (see stall (n.1)). As a school of psychology, it was founded c.1912 by M Wertheimer, K. Koffka, W. Köhler.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

gestalt in Medicine


n. pl. ge•stalts

A physical, biological, psychological, or symbolic configuration or pattern of elements so unified as a whole that its properties cannot be derived from a simple summation of its parts.gestalt phenomenon
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.