[tran-sen-den-tl, -suh n-]
See more synonyms for transcendental on
  1. transcendent, surpassing, or superior.
  2. being beyond ordinary or common experience, thought, or belief; supernatural.
  3. abstract or metaphysical.
  4. idealistic, lofty, or extravagant.
  5. Philosophy.
    1. beyond the contingent and accidental in human experience, but not beyond all human knowledge.Compare transcendent(def 4b).
    2. pertaining to certain theories, etc., explaining what is objective as the contribution of the mind.
    3. Kantianism.of, pertaining to, based upon, or concerned with a priori elements in experience, which condition human knowledge.Compare transcendent(def 4b).
  1. Mathematics. transcendental number.
  2. transcendentals, Scholasticism. categories that have universal application, as being, one, true, good.

Origin of transcendental

From the Medieval Latin word trānscendentālis, dating back to 1615–25. See transcendent, -al1
Related formstran·scen·den·tal·i·ty, nountran·scen·den·tal·ly, adverbun·tran·scen·den·tal, adjectiveun·tran·scen·den·tal·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for transcendental

boundless, mystical, spiritual

Examples from the Web for transcendental

Contemporary Examples of transcendental

Historical Examples of transcendental

  • “You are too transcendental for me,” growled Ossipon, with moody concern.

    The Secret Agent

    Joseph Conrad

  • Hegelianism may be said to be a transcendental defence of the world as it is.



  • These passages are full of transcendental ideas; do you object to them?

  • These transcendental notions were the beginning of the mental outfit of mankind.


    William Graham Sumner

  • His may not be a transcendental mind, or one sufficiently elastic for politics.


    Monica Mary Gardner

British Dictionary definitions for transcendental


  1. transcendent, superior, or surpassing
  2. (in the philosophy of Kant)
    1. (of a judgment or logical deduction) being both synthetic and a priori
    2. of or relating to knowledge of the presuppositions of thought
  3. philosophy beyond our experience of phenomena, although not beyond potential knowledge
  4. theol surpassing the natural plane of reality or knowledge; supernatural or mystical
Derived Formstranscendentality, nountranscendentally, adverb
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 transcendental

1660s, from Medieval Latin transcendentalis, from Latin transcendentem (see transcendent). Transcendental meditation attested by 1966.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper