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tabula rasa

[tab-yuh-luh rah-suh, -zuh, rey-; Latin tah-boo-lah rah-sah]
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noun, plural ta·bu·lae ra·sae [tab-yuh-lee rah-see, -zee, rey-; Latin tah-boo-lahy rah-sahy] /ˈtæb yəˌli ˈrɑ si, -zi, ˈreɪ-; Latin ˈtɑ bʊˌlaɪ ˈrɑ saɪ/.
  1. a mind not yet affected by experiences, impressions, etc.
  2. anything existing undisturbed in its original pure state.
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Origin of tabula rasa

First recorded in 1525–35, tabula rasa is from the Latin word tabula rāsa scraped tablet, clean slate
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

palimpsest

British Dictionary definitions for tabula rasa

tabula rasa

noun plural tabulae rasae (ˈtæbjʊliː ˈrɑːsiː)
  1. (esp in the philosophy of Locke) the mind in its uninformed original state
  2. an opportunity for a fresh start; clean slate
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Word Origin

Latin: a scraped tablet (one from which the writing has been erased)
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 tabula rasa

n.

1530s, "the mind in its primary state," from Latin tabula rasa, literally "scraped tablet," from which writing has been erased, thus ready to be written on again, from tabula (see table) + rasa, fem. past participle of radere "to scrape away, erase" (see raze). A loan-translation of Aristotle's pinakis agraphos, literally "unwritten tablet" ("De anima," 7.22).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

tabula rasa in Culture

tabula rasa

[(tab-yuh-luh rah-zuh, rah-suh)]

Something new, fresh, unmarked, or uninfluenced. Tabula rasa is Latin for “blank slate.”

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Note

John Locke believed that a child's mind was a tabula rasa.
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.