noun, plural nou·me·na [noo-muh-nuh] /ˈnu mə nə/.

the object, itself inaccessible to experience, to which a phenomenon is referred for the basis or cause of its sense content.
a thing in itself, as distinguished from a phenomenon or thing as it appears.
Kantianism. something that can be the object only of a purely intellectual, nonsensuous intuition.

Origin of noumenon

1790–1800; < Greek nooúmenon a thing being perceived, noun use of neuter of present participle passive of noeîn to perceive; akin to nous Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for noumenon

Historical Examples of noumenon

  • Being a "noumenon," it is not a phenomenon; being a "thing in itself," it is not what things are to us.

  • The "colligation" of the facts, to use Whewell's phrase, is not a phenomenon, but a noumenon.

  • What signified their endless pages about dualism and monism, about phenomenon and noumenon?


    T.S. Stribling

  • But then there is the Ding an sich, the Noumenon, or Kantian equivalent for the substance of the soul.


    T.H. Huxley

  • He called it the "noumenon," the "real correlate of matter," and pluralized it as "things in themselves."

British Dictionary definitions for noumenon


noun plural -na (-nə)

(in the philosophy of Kant) a thing as it is in itself, not perceived or interpreted, incapable of being known, but only inferred from the nature of experienceCompare phenomenon (def. 3) See also thing-in-itself
the object of a purely intellectual intuition
Derived Formsnoumenal, adjectivenoumenalism, nounnoumenalist, noun, adjectivenoumenality, nounnoumenally, adverb

Word Origin for noumenon

C18: via German from Greek: thing being thought of, from noein to think, perceive; related to nous mind
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 noumenon

1796, "object of intellectual intuition" (opposed to a phenomenon), term introduced by Kant, from Greek noumenon "that which is perceived," neuter passive present participle of noein "to apprehend, perceive by the mind" (from noos "mind"). With passive suffix -menos.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper