no·​mo·​thet·​ic | \ ˌnä-mə-ˈthe-tik How to pronounce nomothetic (audio) , ˌnō- \

Definition of nomothetic

: relating to, involving, or dealing with abstract, general, or universal statements or laws

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Nomothetic is often contrasted with "idiographic," a word meaning "relating to or dealing with something concrete, individual, or unique." Where "idiographic" points to the specific and unique, "nomothetic" points to the general and consistent. The immediate Greek parent of nomothetic is a word meaning "of legislation"; the word has its roots in nomos, meaning "law," and -thetēs, meaning "one who establishes." "Nomos" has played a part in the histories of words as varied as "metronome," "autonomous," and "Deuteronomy." The English contributions of "-thetēs" are meager ("nomothetic" is the only one in our Collegiate dictionary), but "-thetēs" itself comes from tithenai, meaning "to put," and "tithenai" is the ancestor of many common words ending in "thesis"-"hypothesis," "parenthesis," "prosthesis," "synthesis," and "thesis" itself-as well as "theme," "epithet," and "apothecary."

First Known Use of nomothetic

1904, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for nomothetic

Greek nomothetikos of legislation, from nomothetēs lawgiver, from nomos law + -thetēs one who establishes, from tithenai to put — more at do

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The first known use of nomothetic was in 1904

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Cite this Entry

“Nomothetic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Feb. 2021.

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More Definitions for nomothetic


no·​mo·​thet·​ic | \ ˌnäm-ə-ˈthet-ik How to pronounce nomothetic (audio) , ˌnō-mə- How to pronounce nomothetic (audio) \

Medical Definition of nomothetic

: relating to, involving, or dealing with abstract, general, or universal statements or laws — compare idiographic

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