• synonyms


  1. denoting speech used to express or create an atmosphere of shared feelings, goodwill, or sociability rather than to impart information: phatic communion.
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Origin of phatic

1923; probably < Greek phat(ós) spoken, capable of being spoken (verbid of phánai to speak; cf. prophet) + -ic; coined (in phrase phatic communion) by Bronislaw Malinowski
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for phatic


  1. (of speech, esp of conversational phrases) used to establish social contact and to express sociability rather than specific meaning
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Word Origin for phatic

C20: from Greek phat (os) spoken + -ic
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 phatic


1923, coined by Polish-born British anthropologist Bronisław Malinowski (1884-1942) from Greek phatos "spoken, that may be spoken," from phanai "to speak, say" (see fame (n.)) + -ic.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper