anthropic principle


Definition of anthropic principle

: either of two principles in cosmology:
a : conditions that are observed in the universe must allow the observer to exist

called also weak anthropic principle

b : the universe must have properties that make inevitable the existence of intelligent life

called also strong anthropic principle

Examples of anthropic principle in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Thus, Smolin’s cosmological natural selection might account for the anthropic principle, the idea that cosmological theories of the universe must necessarily allow for human existence. Quanta Magazine, "Did the Chicken Come First or Is It Turtles All the Way Down?," 6 Feb. 2020 Neither does the multiverse concept or the anthropic principle, which purport to explain why our particular universe has certain physical parameters. Peter Byrne, Quanta Magazine, "Waiting for the Revolution," 24 May 2013

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'anthropic principle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of anthropic principle

1974, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about anthropic principle

Time Traveler for anthropic principle

Time Traveler

The first known use of anthropic principle was in 1974

See more words from the same year

Statistics for anthropic principle

Cite this Entry

“Anthropic principle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Comments on anthropic principle

What made you want to look up anthropic principle? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!