[ fiz-iks ]
See synonyms for physics on
noun(used with a singular verb)
  1. the science that deals with matter, energy, motion, and force.

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Origin of physics

First recorded in 1580–90; see origin at physic, -ics

Words Nearby physics Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

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British Dictionary definitions for physics


/ (ˈfɪzɪks) /

noun(functioning as singular)
  1. the branch of science concerned with the properties of matter and energy and the relationships between them. It is based on mathematics and traditionally includes mechanics, optics, electricity and magnetism, acoustics, and heat. Modern physics, based on quantum theory, includes atomic, nuclear, particle, and solid-state studies. It can also embrace applied fields such as geophysics and meteorology

  2. physical properties of behaviour: the physics of the electron

  1. archaic natural science or natural philosophy

Origin of physics

C16: from Latin physica, translation of Greek ta phusika natural things, from phusis nature

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

Scientific definitions for physics


[ fĭzĭks ]

  1. The scientific study of matter, energy, space, and time, and of the relations between them.

  2. The behavior of a given physical system, especially as understood by a physical theory.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for physics


The scientific study of matter and motion. (See mechanics, optics, quantum mechanics, relativity, and thermodynamics.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.