\ ˈbä-dē How to pronounce body (audio) \
plural bodies

Definition of body

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : the main part of a plant or animal body especially as distinguished from limbs and head : trunk held her arms close to her body a bird with a yellow body and head and black markings on its wings
b : the main, central, or principal part: such as
(1) architecture : the nave of a church
(2) : the bed or box of a vehicle on or in which the load is placed
(3) : the enclosed or partly enclosed part of an automobile the truck's body, hood, and fenders
2a : the organized physical substance of an animal or plant either living or dead She has a muscular body. body parts normal body temperature : such as
(1) : the material part or nature of a human being when the soul leaves the body
(2) : a dead organism : corpse The body was shipped home for burial.
b : a human being : person What's a body to do?
3a : a mass of matter distinct from other masses a body of water the movements of celestial bodies
b : something that embodies or gives concrete reality to a thing his intuitions of the future may still give body to a better worldNew York Times also : a sensible object in physical space
c : aggregate, quantity a body of evidence
4a clothing : the part of a garment covering the trunk or torso the body of a wet suit
b : the main part of a literary or journalistic work : text sense 2b The body of the article is devoted to an analysis of the problem.
c : the sound box or pipe of a musical instrument
5 : a group of persons or things: such as
a : a fighting unit : force a body of cavalry
b : a group of individuals organized for some purpose a legislative body the university's student body
6a : fullness and richness of flavor (as of wine) a wine with full body
b : viscosity, consistency used especially of oils and grease
c : denseness, fullness, or firmness of texture Her hair lacks body and shine.
d music : fullness or resonance (see resonance sense 2) of a musical tone


bodied; bodying

Definition of body (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to give form or shape to : embody
2 : represent, symbolize usually used with forthnever been a poet who enjoyed the sensuous world with more gusto … or who more solidly bodied it forth— Edmund Wilson
3 basketball, informal : to use one's body to forcefully block or move (an opposing player) If Jordan spins past him or bodies him away, Russell won't give up on the play.— Ian Thomsen often used with upThe most physical player this side of Shaq, Artest not only bodies up forwards but also has the quickness to defend shooting guards.— L. Jon Wertheim

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Synonyms & Antonyms for body

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

  • disembody
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Examples of body in a Sentence

Noun a part of the body Her body is very muscular. A bird's body is covered in feathers. This species has a black body and a white head. She held her arms tightly against her body. There was extensive damage to the truck's body. The body of the bus is almost entirely rusted out. Verb abstract sculpture that bodies forth the artist's aesthetic of minimalism
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Rivera's body was flown by helicopter 40 miles (64 kilometres) to the coroner's office in Ventura, where an autopsy would be conducted and an official identification made, authorities said. Andrew Dalton, Anchorage Daily News, "Sheriff: ‘Glee’ star Naya Rivera saved son before drowning," 14 July 2020 An American-British member of an advisory body to China’s sovereign-wealth fund has stepped down from her post due to concerns over Chinese restrictions on free speech, including Beijing’s controversial new national-security law for Hong Kong. Julie Steinberg And Dan Strumpf, WSJ, "Hong Kong Security Law Prompts Departure of China Fund Adviser," 13 July 2020 The day Naya Rivera's body was recovered from a California lake tragically coincides with the seventh anniversary of her Glee costar Cory Monteith's death. Gabrielle Chung,, "Naya Rivera's Body Found on the 7th Anniversary of Glee Costar Cory Monteith's Death," 13 July 2020 Basically, that night in particular, along with many other nights, have been marred by unimaginable inconveniences and horrific body horror tragedies. Joey Nolfi,, "Trixie, Katya recreate a wild night of attempted murder and writing a book together," 13 July 2020 Update July 13, 2020: Ventura County's investigation into the disappearance of Naya Rivera has led to the discovery of an unidentified body. Ineye Komonibo,, "A Body Has Been Found In The Lake Where Naya Rivera Went Missing," 13 July 2020 The protester, armed only with a speaker, stood across the street from a line of officers clad in body armor in downtown Portland, Ore., on Saturday night. Tim Elfrink, Washington Post, "Federal officers severely wounded a Portland protester. Local leaders blame Trump.," 13 July 2020 Demi Lovato tweeted before Rivera's body was recovered. Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY, "'Rest sweet Naya': 'Glee's Jane Lynch, Lea Michele, more stars react to Naya Rivera's tragic death," 13 July 2020 Bridy also notes that schools and society in general are moving away from using such tests, and suggests that an outside body like the American Bar Association should review the NCBE's quasi-monopoly over the process of licensing lawyers. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, "It’s not easy being an aspiring lawyer taking the bar exams during a pandemic," 13 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb That deprives even the able-bodied of daily walks to their local shops. Mark Landler, New York Times, "To Fight Coronavirus, U.K. Asked for Some Volunteers. It Got an Army.," 7 Apr. 2020 Brunk did not get much help in Columbus — Wesson bodied Jackson-Davis, Smith and De’Ron Davis with just as much ease — but those are the moments where Miller needs him to step up. Stefan Krajisnik, Indianapolis Star, "IU basketball: Brunk, Hoosiers getting pushed around lately," 2 Feb. 2020 Instability here ultimately compromises the efforts to save ex-Giant Ereck Flowers, who, though unusually long-bodied for the position, had shown hopeful signs at his new guard spot under O-line professor Bill Callahan. Andy Benoit,, "The Redskins Will Struggle With Whoever Is at QB," 16 Aug. 2019 Wherever Winston went, Hunter bodied him up defensively and had plenty of help defending MSU’s pick-and-roll game in the half-court game. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "Tom Izzo on blueprint to beat Michigan State basketball: 'We'll be ready for it'," 12 Jan. 2020 More physical play, and volunteer referee Javier Mascherano is quick to point out that’s a couple times the little man has been bodied already. Christopher Clarey, New York Times, "Messi Exits the World Cup. Hours Later, So Does Ronaldo.," 1 July 2018 Masculine spaces tend to have a lot of hardware and a lot of hard 90 degree angles, whereas feminine spaces tend to have softer angles and fuller bodied turns. Tariro Mzezewa, New York Times, "A Lighting Designer on Lighting Hotels," 21 Dec. 2019 The brothers’ combined defensive pressure (along with T.J. Warren), following the three-time All-Star like a shadow while also bodying him step-for-step on his slashes to the hoop, helped stop the bleeding. Nathan Brown, Indianapolis Star, "Holiday brothers take over fourth quarter for Pacers in comeback win over Celtics," 12 Dec. 2019 Back then, Grenache was a bit of an ugly duckling, as most people were drinking bigger, heavier wines, and Grenache is more medium bodied. John Kell, Fortune, "How Australian Winemakers Are Distancing Themselves From the Country’s Reputation for Cheap Bottles," 8 Dec. 2019

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

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First Known Use of body


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for body

Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Old English bodig; akin to Old High German boteh corpse

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Time Traveler for body

Time Traveler

The first known use of body was before the 12th century

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Statistics for body

Last Updated

1 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Body.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for body


How to pronounce body (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of body

: a person's or animal's whole physical self
: a dead person or animal
: the main physical part of a person or animal


\ ˈbä-dē How to pronounce body (audio) \
plural bodies

Kids Definition of body

1 : the physical whole of a live or dead person or animal the human body
2 : the main part of a person, animal, or plant She held her arms tightly against her body.
3 : a human being The resort offered everything a body could want.
4 : the main or central part the body of a letter
5 : the main part of a motor vehicle
6 : a group of persons or things united for some purpose a body of troops
7 : a mass or portion of something distinct from other masses a body of water

Other Words from body

bodied \ ˈbäd-​ēd \ adjective long-bodied animals


\ ˈbäd-ē How to pronounce body (audio) \
plural bodies

Medical Definition of body

1a : the organized physical substance of an animal or plant either living or dead: as
(1) : the material part or nature of a human being
(2) : a dead organism : corpse
b : a human being
2a : the main part of a plant or animal body especially as distinguished from limbs and head : trunk
b : the main part of an organ (as the uterus)
3 : a kind or form of matter : a material substance

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More from Merriam-Webster on body

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for body

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with body

Spanish Central: Translation of body

Nglish: Translation of body for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of body for Arabic Speakers

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