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So·​crat·​ic sə-ˈkra-tik How to pronounce Socratic (audio)
: of or relating to Socrates, his followers, or his philosophical method of systematic doubt and questioning of another to elicit a clear expression of a truth supposed to be knowable by all rational beings
Socratically adverb


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: a follower of Socrates

Did you know?

Socrates lived and taught in Athens in the 5th century B.C., but left no writings behind, so all we know of him comes through the works of his disciple Plato, almost all of which claim to be accounts of Socrates' conversations with others. Today Socrates is best remembered for his method of teaching by asking increasingly difficult questions, the so-called Socratic method. This generally involves the use of Socratic induction, a way of gradually arriving at generalizations through a process of questions and answers, and Socratic irony, in which the teacher pretends ignorance while questioning his students skillfully to make them aware of their errors in understanding.

Examples of Socratic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Here’s how to walk through some questions commonly used in the Socratic method. Kristen Rogers, CNN, 2 Apr. 2024 This ultimately makes Quizlet’s move from a self-study tool to an interactive Socratic tutor possible. Ray Ravaglia, Forbes, 21 Feb. 2024 Apply Socratic questioning to get to the heart of the issue and hear the topic explained by different stakeholders to hammer it home. Jodie Cook, Forbes, 29 Nov. 2023 Much of Blackouts is a kind of Socratic dialogue between Juan and the narrator, yet instead of trading philosophical arguments in order to unearth essential truths, their principal mode of communication is storytelling. Tope Folarin, The Atlantic, 16 Nov. 2023 The class has a Socratic, collaborative feel to it and Chapin comes off as personable and approachable when encouraging students to explore songwriting. Thomas Goodwin Smith, Baltimore Sun, 6 July 2023 The result is a series of virtually Socratic dialogues (set amid a quietly rich framework of dramatic action) on the subject of life and love. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 2 Oct. 2020 Although the book depicts a series of long-distance exchanges between the two, the play puts Fingal on a cross-country trip to D’Agata’s Las Vegas home as their Socratic dialogue unfolds in person. Thomas Floyd, Washington Post, 7 Feb. 2023 When the Socratic method is used in place of lecturing, students are forced to trade their passive role in the classroom for an active one in which participation is the primary measure of mastery. Jeremy Tate, WSJ, 5 Feb. 2023
But while the Socratic Method was likely Socrates’ most enduring contribution to society, there’s much more to learn about this legendary figure: For many, he's viewed as the founder of Western philosophy itself — and the most exemplary of all the Greek philosophers. Sara Novak, Discover Magazine, 7 Sep. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'Socratic.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


1598, in the meaning defined above


1678, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Socratic was in 1598

Dictionary Entries Near Socratic

Cite this Entry

“Socratic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Apr. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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