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 gestalt (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 When the film doesn’t fit with NASA’s gestalt, filmmakers can’t use the agency’s logo. Washington Post, 16 Jan. 2022 In 1980, a year after she was hired to run Interiors, Ms. Russell told The New York Times that her editorial vision would embrace the go-go gestalt of the impending decade. New York Times, 29 Dec. 2021 It’s an eerie gestalt, a foreboding feeling of unbookiness. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, 14 Sep. 2021 Social media is a gestalt of motivating voices, from friends and family to competitors and influencers, ads and organic posts alike. Elissa Baker, Forbes, 21 May 2021 The gestalt of Latest Music Project, Volume 1 is to sing against the global push toward socialism. Armond White, National Review, 19 May 2021 Like the first season, there’s a midseason flashback episode that becomes the gestalt for all the big resolution gestures, and all of it is rooted in character work rather than too-visible external plot devices. Kathryn Vanarendonk, Vulture, 7 May 2021 My gestalt is that the window of intervention for a direct antiviral is extremely narrow. Adam Feuerstein, STAT, 19 Apr. 2021 America’s thorny gestalt of the individual thrown against the backdrop of systemic inequality. Lisa Kennedy, New York Times, 8 Oct. 2020

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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Last Updated

24 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Gestalt.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2022.

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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 gestalt (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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