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meta·​phys·​i·​cal ˌme-tə-ˈfi-zi-kəl How to pronounce metaphysical (audio)
: of or relating to metaphysics
metaphysical truth
metaphysical speculation
: of or relating to the transcendent (see transcendent sense 1) or to a reality beyond what is perceptible to the senses
fleeing from experience to a metaphysical realmJohn Dewey
: supernatural
fate and metaphysical aid doth seem to have thee crown'dWilliam Shakespeare
: highly abstract or abstruse
also : theoretical
metaphysical reasoning
often capitalized : of or relating to poetry especially of the early 17th century that is highly intellectual and philosophical and marked by unconventional figurative language
metaphysical poets
metaphysically adverb


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: a metaphysical poet of the 17th century

Examples of metaphysical in a Sentence

Adjective a metaphysical world of spirits a work that deals with such metaphysical questions as the very nature of knowledge
Recent Examples on the Web
Can a movie be made up of six chapters of violence, each one cut with vicious economy (by Fincher’s longtime editor Kirk Baxter), with no resort to flowery gangster language or metaphysical meandering? Joshua Rothkopf, Los Angeles Times, 19 Nov. 2023 On Season 2, the vast metaphysical bureaucracy of the Time Variance Authority — which Loki has come to think of as his second home — becomes catastrophically overburdened by the multiverse, placing everyone Loki has come to hold dear in existential peril. Adam B. Vary, Variety, 13 Nov. 2023 All of Us Strangers Searchlight Related Stories Andrew Haigh’s metaphysical drama, adapted from Taichi Yamada’s 1987 novel Strangers, stars Andrew Scott as a London screenwriter who begins a relationship with a mysterious neighbor played by Paul Mescal. Tyler Coates, The Hollywood Reporter, 13 Nov. 2023 His abstractions, though, are deeply rooted in art history and in heady metaphysical notions, referencing the avant-garde ideas of early conceptual artists like Russian Kazimir Malevich and Frenchman Marcel Duchamp. Jay Cheshes, Smithsonian Magazine, 25 Oct. 2023 It is considered a work of Gothic fiction, with themes of madness, family, isolation, and metaphysical identities, which are also likely to be themes in the new series. Anna Tingley, Variety, 13 Oct. 2023 Still, one way to oppose rule by moral and spiritual orthodoxy is to be guided by an alternative metaphysical dogma. Ian Buruma, The New Yorker, 25 Sep. 2023 As a young college student, Grace encountered astrology and numerology through the metaphysical movement occurring throughout the 90s. Jon Stojan, USA TODAY, 6 Sep. 2023 Adventure Time couldn’t resist invoking deeply existential, metaphysical concepts through a childlike lens. WIRED, 23 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'metaphysical.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1887, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of metaphysical was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near metaphysical




Cite this Entry

“Metaphysical.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


meta·​phys·​i·​cal ˌmet-ə-ˈfiz-i-kəl How to pronounce metaphysical (audio)
: of, relating to, or based on metaphysics
: difficult to understand : abstract
metaphysically adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on metaphysical

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