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noun, plural nou·me·na [noo-muh-nuh] /ˈnu mə nə/.
  1. the object, itself inaccessible to experience, to which a phenomenon is referred for the basis or cause of its sense content.
  2. a thing in itself, as distinguished from a phenomenon or thing as it appears.
  3. Kantianism. something that can be the object only of a purely intellectual, nonsensuous intuition.
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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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for noumenon

conscience, heart, life, stuff, intelligence, mind, vitality, intellect, thought, genius, courage, ego, feeling, spirit, personality, individuality, force, essence, bottom, bosom

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 Church of St. Bunco

    Gordon Clark

  • 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)
  1. (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
  2. the object of a purely intellectual intuition
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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper