[ met-uh-fiz-iks ]
/ ˌmɛt əˈfɪz ɪks /

noun (used with a singular verb)

the branch of philosophy that treats of first principles, includes ontology and cosmology, and is intimately connected with epistemology.
philosophy, especially in its more abstruse branches.
the underlying theoretical principles of a subject or field of inquiry.
(initial capital letter, italics) a treatise (4th century b.c.) by Aristotle, dealing with first principles, the relation of universals to particulars, and the teleological doctrine of causation.

Origin of metaphysics

1560–70; < Medieval Latin metaphysica < Medieval Greek () metaphysiká (neuter plural), Greek tà metà tà physiká the (works) after the Physics; with reference to the arrangement of Aristotle's writings

Definition for metaphysics (2 of 2)


[ met-uh-fiz-ik ]
/ ˌmɛt əˈfɪz ɪk /



Origin of metaphysic

1350–1400; Middle English metaphisik < Medieval Latin metaphysica (neuter plural); see metaphysics

Related forms

un·met·a·phys·ic, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for metaphysics

British Dictionary definitions for metaphysics (1 of 2)


/ (ˌmɛtəˈfɪzɪks) /

noun (functioning as singular)

the branch of philosophy that deals with first principles, esp of being and knowing
the philosophical study of the nature of reality, concerned with such questions as the existence of God, the external world, etc
(popularly) abstract or subtle discussion or reasoning

Derived Forms

metaphysician (ˌmɛtəfɪˈzɪʃən) or metaphysicist (ˌmɛtəˈfɪzɪsɪst), noun

Word Origin for metaphysics

C16: from Medieval Latin, from Greek ta meta ta phusika the things after the physics, from the arrangement of the subjects treated in the works of Aristotle

British Dictionary definitions for metaphysics (2 of 2)


/ (ˌmɛtəˈfɪzɪk) /


the system of first principles and assumptions underlying an enquiry or philosophical theory
an obsolete word for metaphysician


rare another word for metaphysical
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

Culture definitions for metaphysics


The field in philosophy that studies ultimate questions, such as whether every event has a cause and what things are genuinely real.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.