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 metaphysically (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 Unsurprisingly, these metaphysical laws only benefit the plot and do not serve a larger narrational or thematic purpose. Robyn Bahr, Billboard, "'Julie and the Phantoms': TV Review," 10 Sep. 2020 For those who find this answer unacceptable, race cannot be everything, at least not in this absolute, metaphysical sense. Hari Kunzru, The New York Review of Books, "The Wages of Whiteness," 8 Sep. 2020 Her aunts assist all kinds of clients with metaphysical problems, from nearby neighbors to huge pop stars. Christian Holub,, "The best new comics to read in September: Stories of swords and magic," 4 Sep. 2020 For all Nolan’s metaphysical mastery, there’s an undeniable coldness to his twilight world. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Tenet Is a Cold Metaphysical Thriller," 2 Sep. 2020 McCraven stockpiles the bursts, cuts them into cool shapes, then rearranges them into metaphysical grooves that create the impossible pleasure of being in multiple times and places at once. Chris Richards, Washington Post, "For these jazz drummers, time is a flat circle (with a skin across the top)," 1 Sep. 2020 This is philosophy not as metaphysical musing but as originally conceived by the ancient Greeks: practical, therapeutic medicine for the soul. Eric Weiner, WSJ, "Philosophy for a Time of Crisis," 27 Aug. 2020 The Founders tried to carve out a vision of human rights that circumvented the need for metaphysical or theological commitments, but they were destined to fail. Cameron Hilditch, National Review, "The American Misunderstanding of Natural Rights," 12 Aug. 2020 Ezrin’s favorite flower and its quirky melody had visually manifested, in a moment as accidental and purposeful as the connections made between these device’s users and their metaphysical musings. Elisia Guerena, Popular Mechanics, "The Plants That Make Music," 12 July 2020

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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for metaphysical

Last Updated

15 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Metaphysical.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Sep. 2020.

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How to pronounce Metaphysical (audio)

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

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