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  1. walking or traveling about; itinerant.
  2. (initial capital letter) of or relating to Aristotle, who taught philosophy while walking in the Lyceum of ancient Athens.
  3. (initial capital letter) of or relating to the Aristotelian school of philosophy.
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  1. a person who walks or travels about.
  2. (initial capital letter) a member of the Aristotelian school.
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Origin of peripatetic

1400–50; late Middle English < Latin peripatēticus < Greek peripatētikós of Aristotle and his school, literally, walking about, equivalent to peripatē- (verbid stem of peripateîn to walk about, equivalent to peri- peri- + pateîn to walk; akin to path) + -tikos -tic
Related formsper·i·pa·tet·i·cal·ly, adverbper·i·pa·tet·i·cism [per-uh-puh-tet-uh-siz-uhm] /ˌpɛr ə pəˈtɛt əˌsɪz əm/, noun


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

nomadic, roving, itinerant, mobile, vagrant, migrant, wayfaring, vagabond, wandering, roaming, ambulant, itinerate

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British Dictionary definitions for peripatetic


  1. itinerant
  2. British employed in two or more educational establishments and travelling from one to anothera peripatetic football coach
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  1. a peripatetic person
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Derived Formsperipatetically, adverb

Word Origin

C16: from Latin peripatēticus, from Greek peripatētikos, from peripatein to pace to and fro


  1. of or relating to the teachings of Aristotle, who used to teach philosophy while walking about the Lyceum in ancient Athens
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  1. a student of Aristotelianism
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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 peripatetic


c.1400, "disciple of Aristotle," from Old French perypatetique (14c.), from Latin peripateticus "pertaining to the disciples or philosophy of Aristotle," from Greek peripatetikos "given to walking about" (especially while teaching), from peripatein "walk up and down, walk about," from peri- "around" (see peri-) + patein "to walk, tread" (see find (v.)). Aristotle's custom was to teach while strolling through the Lyceum in Athens. In English, the philosophical meaning is older than that of "person who wanders about" (1610s).

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1560s in the philosophical sense, 1640s in the literal sense; see peripatetic (n.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper