• synonyms


[pleyt-n-iz-uh m]
  1. the philosophy or doctrines of Plato or his followers.
  2. a Platonic doctrine or saying.
  3. the belief that physical objects are impermanent representations of unchanging Ideas, and that the Ideas alone give true knowledge as they are known by the mind.
  4. (sometimes lowercase) the doctrine or practice of platonic love.
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Origin of Platonism

From the New Latin word Platōnismus, dating back to 1560–70. See Platonic, -ism
Related formsPla·to·nist, noun, adjectivean·ti-Pla·to·nism, nounan·ti-Pla·to·nist, noun, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for platonism

Historical Examples of platonism

  • That was really carrying on one side of Platonism and not the least important.

    The Legacy of Greece


  • Platonism could only desire, and hope, and wait for the coming of a Deliverer.

    Christianity and Greek Philosophy

    Benjamin Franklin Cocker

  • Platonism is pantheistic in that nature is resolved into God.

    The Approach to Philosophy

    Ralph Barton Perry

  • The contact of the Church with Platonism was on the mystical side.

  • Platonism was in the air, at least was in the air breathed by an Augustine.

British Dictionary definitions for platonism


  1. the teachings of Plato and his followers, esp the philosophical theory that the meanings of general words are real existing abstract entities (Forms) and that particular objects have properties in common by virtue of their relationship with these FormsCompare nominalism, conceptualism, intuitionism
  2. the realist doctrine that mathematical entities have real existence and that mathematical truth is independent of human thought
  3. See Neo-Platonism
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Derived FormsPlatonist, 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 platonism



1560s, from Plato (see Platonic) + -ism.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

platonism in Culture



The philosophy of Plato, or an approach to philosophy resembling his. For example, someone who asserts that numbers exist independently of the things they number could be called a Platonist.

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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.