Origin of physical

1400–50; late Middle English < Medieval Latin physicālis concerning medicine. See physic, -al1
Related formsphys·i·cal·ly, adverbphys·i·cal·ness, nounan·ti·phys·i·cal, adjectivean·ti·phys·i·cal·ly, adverban·ti·phys·i·cal·ness, nounnon·phys·i·cal, adjectivenon·phys·i·cal·ly, adverbqua·si-phys·i·cal, adjectivequa·si-phys·i·cal·ly, adverbtrans·phys·i·cal, adjectivetrans·phys·i·cal·ly, adverbun·phys·i·cal, adjectiveun·phys·i·cal·ly, adverb

Synonyms for physical

1. somatic; fleshly. Physical, bodily, corporeal, corporal agree in pertaining to the body. Physical indicates connected with, pertaining to, the animal or human body as a material organism: physical strength, exercise. Bodily means belonging to, concerned with, the human body as distinct from the mind or spirit: bodily pain or suffering. Corporeal, a more poetic and philosophical word than bodily, refers especially to the mortal substance of which the human body is composed as opposed to spirit: this corporeal habitation. Corporal is now usually reserved for reference to whippings and other punishments inflicted on the human body. 2. tangible, palpable. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for physical

Contemporary Examples of physical

Historical Examples of physical

  • The physical facts couldn't be denied, and beyond the physical facts I could discern nothing.

  • I am not condemning the physical alleviation of pain or the progress of physical science.

  • Physical pain has always been one of the great sources of fear.

  • I have said that the dominant thinking of our age is materialistic, and by that I mean also physical.

  • It is a question of physical vision, with spiritual comprehension.

British Dictionary definitions for physical



of or relating to the body, as distinguished from the mind or spirit
of, relating to, or resembling material things or naturethe physical universe
involving or requiring bodily contactrugby is a physical sport
of or concerned with matter and energy
of or relating to physics
perceptible to the senses; apparenta physical manifestation


See also physicals
Derived Formsphysically, adverbphysicalness, noun
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 physical

early 15c., "of or pertaining to material nature" (in medicine, opposed to surgical), from Medieval Latin physicalis "of nature, natural," from Latin physica "study of nature" (see physic). Meaning "pertaining to matter" is from 1590s; meaning "having to do with the body, corporeal" is attested from 1780. Meaning "characterized by bodily attributes or activities" is attested from 1970. Physical education first recorded 1838; abbreviated form phys ed is from 1955. Physical therapy is from 1922. Related: Physically.


"a physical examination," by 1934, from physical (adj.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

physical in Medicine




Of or relating to the body as distinguished from the mind or spirit.
Involving or characterized by vigorous bodily activity.
Of or relating to material things.
Of or relating to matter and energy or the sciences dealing with them, especially physics.


A physical examination.
Related formsphys′i•cali•ty (-kălĭ-tē) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with physical


see get physical.

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