cat·​e·​gor·​i·​cal | \ ˌka-tə-ˈgȯr-i-kəl How to pronounce categorical (audio) , -ˈgär- \
variants: or less commonly categoric \ ˌka-​tə-​ˈgȯr-​ik How to pronounce categorical (audio) , -​ˈgär-​ \

Definition of categorical

1 : absolute, unqualified a categorical denial
2a : of, relating to, or constituting a category
b : involving, according with, or considered with respect to specific categories a categorical system for classifying books

Other Words from categorical

categorically \ ˌka-​tə-​ˈgȯr-​i-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce categorical (audio) , -​ˈgär-​ \ adverb

Did you know?

The ancestor of categorical and category has been important in logic and philosophy since the days of Aristotle. Both English words derive from Greek katēgoria, which Aristotle used to name the 10 fundamental classes (also called "predications" or "assertions") of terms, things, or ideas into which he felt human knowledge could be organized. Ironically, although those categories and things categorical are supposed to be absolute and fundamental, philosophers have long argued about the number and type of categories that exist and their role in understanding the world. High-level philosophical disputes aside, the word categorical continues to sometimes describe an absolute assertion, one that involves no conditions or hypotheses—for example, the statement "all humans are mortal."

Examples of categorical in a Sentence

He issued a categorical denial about his involvement in the deal. a categorical denial of the rumors that the celebrities were planning to get married
Recent Examples on the Web The following roundup of winners is based on 50 hours of comprehensive categorical testing, as well as road testing newer models and reviewing updates to past favorites. Dan Diclerico, Good Housekeeping, 10 May 2022 Our best outdoor dinnerware picks are based on testing results in our lab and at home, deep categorical knowledge and industry insight. Myo Quinn, Good Housekeeping, 27 Apr. 2022 In extreme cases, overwhelming, categorical blame is appropriate. Dahlia Scheindlin, The New Republic, 18 Apr. 2022 Secretary of State Antony Blinken was even more categorical during a trip to Jerusalem on Sunday. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 28 Mar. 2022 This includes dropping any rows in the dataset with missing values, turning any missing categorical data into unique values and replacing missing values with a statistical representation (such as the mean) of the current data. Hikari Senju, Forbes, 25 Mar. 2022 But particular rhetorical tactics, including namecalling, accusations of bad faith, ad hominem attacks, or categorical dismissal of certain positions almost certainly won't. Samuel Goldman, The Week, 21 Mar. 2022 Henry Woolf, a friend who had been familiar with Le Prince’s camera from its earliest days, was categorical. Nat Segnit, Harper’s Magazine , 16 Mar. 2022 By making such categorical predictions, Biden and other officials could have created an opening for Putin to paint the absence of a major invasion as further proof of American hyperbole and unreliability. Adam Entous, The New Yorker, 21 Feb. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of categorical

1588, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for categorical

Late Latin categoricus, from Greek katēgorikos, from katēgoria — see category

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Time Traveler for categorical

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The first known use of categorical was in 1588

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Dictionary Entries Near categorical



categorical imperative

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Last Updated

16 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Categorical.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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Nglish: Translation of categorical for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of categorical for Arabic Speakers


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