[ fiz-iks ]
/ ˈfɪz ɪks /

noun (used with a singular verb)

the science that deals with matter, energy, motion, and force.

Origin of physics

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

Definition for physics (2 of 2)

[ fiz-ik ]
/ ˈfɪz ɪk /


a medicine that purges; cathartic; laxative.
any medicine; a drug or medicament.
Archaic. the medical art or profession.
Obsolete. natural science.

verb (used with object), phys·icked, phys·ick·ing.

to treat with or act upon as a physic or medicine.
to work upon as a medicine does; relieve or cure.

Origin of physic

1250–1300; (noun) Middle English fisyk(e), phisik(e) (< Old French fisique) < Latin physica natural science (Medieval Latin: medical science) < Greek physikḗ science of nature, noun use of feminine adj.: pertaining to nature (akin to phŷlon tribe, phylon); (v.) Middle English, derivative of the noun


physic physique Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Examples from the Web for physics

British Dictionary definitions for physics (1 of 2)

/ (ˈfɪzɪks) /

noun (functioning as singular)

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
physical properties of behaviourthe physics of the electron
archaic natural science or natural philosophy

Word Origin for physics

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

British Dictionary definitions for physics (2 of 2)

/ (ˈfɪzɪk) /


rare a medicine or drug, esp a cathartic or purge
archaic the art or skill of healing
an archaic term for physics (def. 1)

verb -ics, -icking or -icked

(tr) archaic to treat (a patient) with medicine

Derived forms of physic

physicky, adjective

Word Origin for physic

C13: from Old French fisique, via Latin, from Greek phusikē, 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

Medical definitions for physics (1 of 2)

[ fĭzĭks ]


The science of matter and energy and of interactions between the two, grouped in traditional fields such as acoustics, optics, mechanics, thermodynamics, and electromagnetism, as well as in modern extensions including atomic and nuclear physics, cryogenics, solid-state physics, particle physics, and plasma physics.
Physical properties, interactions, processes, or laws.

Medical definitions for physics (2 of 2)

[ fĭzĭk ]


A medicine or drug, especially a cathartic.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Scientific definitions for physics

[ fĭzĭks ]

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