- an appearance or immediate object of awareness in experience.
- Kantianism. a thing as it appears to and is constructed by the mind, as distinguished from a noumenon, or thing-in-itself.
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Origin of phenomenon
Words nearby phenomenon
What does phenomenon mean?
Phenomenon most generally refers to an observable occurrence or circumstance. For example, a hurricane is a kind of weather phenomenon.
Phenomenon is also commonly used to refer to an extraordinary event or something that becomes the subject of widespread interest and attention, as in The movie has become a worldwide phenomenon.
Sometimes, phenomenon refers to a person with an extraordinary talent or ability, especially a relatively young person who is considered a prodigy. The word phenom (a shortened form of phenomenon) is commonly used to mean the same thing, as in She became an internationally known chess phenom when she was just 14 years old.
The plural of phenomenon is phenomena.
The adjective phenomenal is most commonly used to mean highly extraordinary or exceptional, as in It was a phenomenal display of skill. It can also be used more generally to mean relating to phenomena in some way, as in My philosophy paper deals with the phenomenal qualities of existence.
Example: Halley’s comet is a phenomenon that occurs every 76 years.
Where does phenomenon come from?
The first records of the word phenomenon come from the 1580s. It comes from the Greek phainómenon, from the verb phaínesthai, meaning “to appear, become visible,” from phaínein, “to show, bring to light, make known.”
Most senses of phenomenon deal with things that are visible or observable or that have become well-known. In science, the word phenomenon is typically used to refer to anything that occurs naturally and can be observed, such as a weather phenomenon or a cosmic phenomenon. In philosophy, it’s used more broadly to refer to an object of perception or experience. In a more popular sense, it refers to something that has become a spectacle or the source of a lot of attention, or to someone who is famed for their exceptional talent.
Did you know ... ?
What are some other forms related to phenomenon?
What are some synonyms for phenomenon?
What are some words that share a root or word element with phenomenon?
What are some words that often get used in discussing phenomenon?
How is phenomenon used in real life?
Phenomenon is a somewhat formal word, but it can be used in all kinds of contexts, including serious scientific ones and ones involving pop culture.
This rare phenomenon (#Baikal #Zen) happens when rocks lying on the surface of frozen lakes are heated by sunlight and emit infrared rays, melting ice below. When the sun sets, the ice refreezes, creating these incredible frozen near-impossible structures. #weather #beautiful pic.twitter.com/7wfG5Ba5DL
— Paul Beckwith (@PaulHBeckwith) November 26, 2020
Wow! A rare weather phenomenon!! Anticrepuscular rays seen opposite the sunrise this morning! https://t.co/M85FNH0XrI
— Grant Johnston (@GrantJNBC5) January 25, 2021
— Liverpool FC News (@LivEchoLFC) November 30, 2017
Try using phenomenon!
True or False?
Lightning is a kind of weather phenomenon.
How to use phenomenon in a sentence
The latter phenomenon was made famous in Miracle on the Hudson, the film starring Tom Hanks that recounted pilot Chesley Sullenberger’s emergency landing on the Hudson River.
The patterns that Lendner, Voytek and others look for are related to a phenomenon that scientists started noticing in complex systems throughout the natural world and technology in 1925.Brain’s ‘Background Noise’ May Hold Clues to Persistent Mysteries|Elizabeth Landau|February 8, 2021|Quanta Magazine
I’d anticipate there will be some slowing for Peloton and other brands when vaccines make returning to gyms a more widescale phenomenon.Peloton will pump $100M into delivery logistics to ease supply concerns|Brian Heater|February 5, 2021|TechCrunch
In a year with few true cultural phenomena, the 1990s Bulls docuseries The Last Dance stands out as a series that really ought to be rewarded.The 11 Weirdest Golden Globe Nominations—And What Should Have Been Nominated Instead|Eliana Dockterman|February 3, 2021|Time
An oddity in some theorist’s equation points to a previously unknown phenomenon, which kicks off a search for evidence.Einstein’s theory of general relativity unveiled a dynamic and bizarre cosmos|Elizabeth Quill|February 3, 2021|Science News
Putin, because of his acts in Ukraine, he lost Russkiy Mir as a phenomenon.Rebranding The Land of Mongol Warriors & Ivan The Terrible|Anna Nemtsova|December 25, 2014|DAILY BEAST
But the phenomenon of counterfeiting is as old as couture itself.
Within a few summer weeks, “Hot N—” had become an inescapable pop-culture phenomenon and Bobby landed a major record deal.
That phenomenon is not limited to peaceniks with spiritual aspirations.
This is a well-documented phenomenon which does not worry specialists.
In a warlike age this peacefulness of a monarch was the great and supernatural phenomenon.Solomon and Solomonic Literature|Moncure Daniel Conway
This indeed does happen constantly on a small scale in the familiar phenomenon of over-production.The Unsolved Riddle of Social Justice|Stephen Leacock
When applied to the diagnosis of typhoid fever, the phenomenon is known as the Widal reaction.A Manual of Clinical Diagnosis|James Campbell Todd
This curious phenomenon was also witnessed by the French in Geographe Bay.
In all savage races it has been recognised and dreaded, this phenomenon styled 'Wehr Wolf,' but to-day it is rare.Three More John Silence Stories|Algernon Blackwood
British Dictionary definitions for phenomenon
- the object of perception, experience, etc
- (in the writings of Kant) a thing as it appears and is interpreted in perception and reflection, as distinguished from its real nature as a thing-in-itselfCompare noumenon