ge·​stalt | \ gə-ˈstält How to pronounce gestalt (audio) , -ˈshtält, -ˈstȯlt, -ˈshtȯlt How to pronounce gestalt (audio) \
plural gestalts also gestalten\ gə-​ˈstäl-​tᵊn How to pronounce gestalten (audio) , -​ˈshtäl-​ , -​ˈstȯl-​ , -​ˈshtȯl-​ \

Definition of gestalt

: something that is made of many parts and yet is somehow more than or different from the combination of its parts When he gets rolling, you're not responding to single jokes—it's the whole gestalt of the movie that's funny.— Pauline Kael broadly : the general quality or character of something When new employees are recruited fresh out of college and can look forward to working for the same company for 40 years, it changes the gestalt of management. — Brenton R. Schlender … the Old Hollywood gestalt, where daughters adored and romanticized their charismatic, powerful, often unavailable fathers. — Nora Johnson

Examples of gestalt in a Sentence

the gestalt of human consciousness
Recent Examples on the Web America’s thorny gestalt of the individual thrown against the backdrop of systemic inequality. Lisa Kennedy, New York Times, "‘Time’ Review: What We Really Mean When We Say Mass Incarceration," 8 Oct. 2020 That doesn't happen on older iPhones, and more importantly, goes against Apple's privacy policy and general gestalt. Wired, "Security News This Week: Why the iPhone 11 Tracks Your Location Even When You Tell It Not To," 7 Dec. 2019 But no other Mexican musical act touches the binational, multigenerational gestalt at the heart of the Mexican American experience, according to Adrian Félix, an ethnic studies professor at UC Riverside who writes about transnational migration. Los Angeles Times, "Pepe Aguilar’s ‘Rodeo Without Borders’ evokes old Mexico, with touches of L.A.," 15 Sep. 2019 Both sandwiches stick the landing on the most important element of a fast-food sandwich: the fusion of its distinct components into an ineffable, irresistible gestalt. Helen Rosner, The New Yorker, "The Popeyes Chicken Sandwich Is Here to Save America," 20 Aug. 2019 Ideally, thoughtful people will ponder the opinion and be informed by it, incorporating the information into the gestalt of their personal world view. Seattle Times Staff, The Seattle Times, "‘This is a lot of what’s wrong with high-school sports’: The best comments on this week," 12 July 2019 There’s an irresistible allure to these tales, and even someone who never tore off a layer of skin on the Alpine Slide or fished a drunken lug out of the water can shake his head and smile at the those-were-the-days gestalt of Action Park. Jack Mccallum,, "Remembering Action Park, America's Most Dangerous, Daring Water Park," 1 July 2019 Rocket Man Medal for Cultural Diplomacy Itinerant critic Olly Wainwright for looking not just at buildings, but for his colorful examination of the North Korean design gestalt. Mark Lamster, Curbed, "2018 in architecture: The good, the bad, and the urbanism," 27 Dec. 2018 Central to this car’s gestalt is the high level of regenerative braking effect. Dan Neil, WSJ, "2019 Jaguar I-Pace: An Electric SUV Hot on Tesla’s Heels," 21 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gestalt.' 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 gestalt

1922, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for gestalt

German, literally, shape, form

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Time Traveler for gestalt

Time Traveler

The first known use of gestalt was in 1922

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Statistics for gestalt

Last Updated

14 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Gestalt.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Dec. 2020.

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More Definitions for gestalt


ge·​stalt | \ gə-ˈs(h)tält How to pronounce gestalt (audio) , -ˈs(h)tȯlt How to pronounce gestalt (audio) \
plural gestalten\ -​ᵊn How to pronounce gestalten (audio) \ or gestalts

Medical Definition of gestalt

: a structure, arrangement, or pattern of physical, biological, or psychological phenomena so integrated as to constitute a functional unit with properties not derivable by summation of its parts

More from Merriam-Webster on gestalt

Britannica English: Translation of gestalt for Arabic Speakers

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