• synonyms


[path, pahth]
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noun, plural paths [pathz, pahthz, paths, pahths] /pæðz, pɑðz, pæθs, pɑθs/.
  1. a way beaten, formed, or trodden by the feet of persons or animals.
  2. a narrow walk or way: a path through a garden; a bicycle path.
  3. a route, course, or track along which something moves: the path of a hurricane.
  4. a course of action, conduct, or procedure: the path of righteousness.
  5. Mathematics. a continuous curve that connects two or more points.
  6. Computers. the sequence of steps that a computer follows in carrying out a routine, as in storing and retrieving a file at a specific location.
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  1. cross one's path, to encounter or meet unexpectedly: Tragedy crossed our path again.
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Origin of path

before 900; Middle English; Old English pæth; cognate with German Pfad
Related formsmul·ti·path, nounout·path, noun

Synonyms for path

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1. footpath, pathway. Path, lane, trail are passages or routes not as wide as a way or road. A path is a way for passing on foot; a track, beaten by feet, not specially constructed, is often along the side of a road: a path through a field. A lane is a narrow road or track, generally between fields, often enclosed with fences or trees; sometimes it is an alley or narrow road between buildings in towns: a lane leading to a farmhouse; Drury Lane. A trail is a rough way made or worn through woods, or across mountains, prairies, or other untraveled regions: an Indian trail.


  1. variant of patho- before a vowel: pathosis.
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  1. a combining form occurring in personal nouns corresponding to abstract nouns ending in -pathy, with the general sense “one practicing such a treatment” (osteopath) or “one suffering from such an ailment” (psychopath).
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for path

roadway, aisle, lane, procedure, track, route, rail, direction, passage, trail, street, highway, line, avenue, road, walkway, pathway, rut, boulevard, thoroughfare

Examples from the Web for path

Contemporary Examples of path

Historical Examples of path

British Dictionary definitions for path


noun plural paths (pɑːðz)
  1. a road or way, esp a narrow trodden track
  2. a surfaced walk, as through a garden
  3. the course or direction in which something movesthe path of a whirlwind
  4. a course of conductthe path of virtue
  5. computing the directions for reaching a particular file or directory, as traced hierarchically through each of the parent directories usually from the root; the file or directoryand all parent directories are separated from one another in the path by slashes
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Derived Formspathless, adjective

Word Origin for path

Old English pæth; related to Old High German, German Pfad


abbreviation for
  1. pathological
  2. pathology
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n combining form
  1. denoting a person suffering from a specified disease or disorderneuropath
  2. denoting a practitioner of a particular method of treatmentosteopath
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Word Origin for -path

back formation from -pathy
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 path


Old English paþ, pæþ "path, track," from West Germanic *patha- (cf. Old Frisian path, Middle Dutch pat, Dutch pad, Old High German pfad, German Pfad "path"), of unknown origin. The original initial -p- in a Germanic word is an etymological puzzle. Watkins says the word is "probably borrowed (? via Scythian) from Iranian *path-," from PIE root *pent- "to tread, go, pass" (cf. Avestan patha "way;" see find (v.)), but this is too much of a stretch for OED and others. In Scotland and Northern England, commonly a steep ascent of a hill or in a road.

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word-forming element used in modern formations to mean "one suffering from" (a disease or condition), from Greek -pathes, from pathos "suffering" (see pathos). Also "one versed in" (a certain type of treatment), in which cases it is a back-formation from -pathy in the related sense.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

path in Medicine


  1. A practitioner of a specified kind of medical treatment:naturopath.
  2. One affected by a specified kind of disorder:sociopath.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with path


see beat a path to someone's door; cross someone's path; lead down the garden path; least resistance, path of; on the warpath.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.