• 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

Related Words for platonist

dreamer, visionary, optimist, enthusiast, romantic, radical, escapist, utopian, stargazer, seer, transcendentalist, romanticist, Platonist, romancer

Examples from the Web for platonist

Historical Examples of platonist

  • You cannot be a Platonist or a Benthamite in politics to-day.

    A Preface to Politics

    Walter Lippmann

  • The reputation of "the Platonist" begins to grow, and will continue to grow.

  • But in his moment of inspiration, the Platonist will have no sense for the imperfect.

    The Approach to Philosophy

    Ralph Barton Perry

  • The crowd-man, however unsophisticated he may be, is a Platonist at heart.

    The Behavior of Crowds

    Everett Dean Martin

  • Men were dissatisfied with the unsubstantial dream of Platonist and Stoic.

British Dictionary definitions for platonist


  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 platonist



1540s, from Plato (see Platonic) + -ist.

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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

platonist 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.