meta·​phys·​i·​cal | \ ˌme-tə-ˈfi-zi-kəl How to pronounce metaphysical (audio) \

Definition of metaphysical

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of or relating to metaphysics metaphysical truth metaphysical speculation
2a : 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 realm— John Dewey
b : supernatural fate and metaphysical aid doth seem to have thee crown'd— William Shakespeare
3 : highly abstract or abstruse also : theoretical metaphysical reasoning
4 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



Definition of Metaphysical (Entry 2 of 2)

: a metaphysical poet of the 17th century

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Other Words from metaphysical


metaphysically \ ˌme-​tə-​ˈfi-​zi-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce Metaphysical (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for metaphysical

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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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: Adjective During questions about child care, women’s safety and development, Jones delved into some of the more metaphysical drivers for his candidacy. cleveland, 12 Sep. 2021 Using her clairvoyance to develop a casual pickup line is just one of her freaky metaphysical powers. Washington Post, 10 Sep. 2021 Writer-director Lisa Joy (Westworld) seems to be aiming for an Inception-style metaphysical mind-bend, with the sci-fi jolt of Minority Report and a bleak splash of Waterworld. Leah Greenblatt,, 18 Aug. 2021 So, over the course of the movie’s second half, Baby Annette serves as a metaphysical vessel for her parents’ conflict with one another — pulled this way and that like, oh, say, a puppet. Bilge Ebiri, Vulture, 23 Aug. 2021 Atheists had the lowest interest in metaphysical-adjacent practices at 34.4%, followed closely by those identifying with no particular faith tradition. The Salt Lake Tribune, 13 Aug. 2021 Death would no longer be a metaphysical problem, merely a technical one. Margaret Talbot, The New Yorker, 11 Aug. 2021 There's a great, spooky premise at the center of M. Night Shyamalan's latest — a sort of Benjamin Un-Buttoning, on the beach — and Old comes close to seeing its metaphysical mystery through. Leah Greenblatt,, 22 July 2021 Every force evolves a form, in Guy Davenport’s phrasing, a formula for how a need in an artist—intellectual, emotional, metaphysical—yields an object whose contours describe, hiddenly, the need itself. Wyatt Mason, Harper's Magazine, 20 July 2021

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


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1887, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for metaphysical

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

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Last Updated

16 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Metaphysical.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Sep. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of metaphysical

: of, relating to, or based on metaphysics
: of or relating to things that are thought to exist but that cannot be seen

More from Merriam-Webster on metaphysical

Nglish: Translation of metaphysical for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of metaphysical for Arabic Speakers


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