on·​to·​log·​i·​cal ˌän-tə-ˈlä-ji-kəl How to pronounce ontological (audio)
: of or relating to ontology
an ontological principle
: relating to or based upon being or existence
Virtual environments engage millions of people and billions of dollars each year. What is the ontological status of the virtual objects that populate those environments?David Leech Anderson
ontologically adverb

Examples of ontological in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But another is ontological: What kind of man could make this work? Kathryn Schulz, The New Yorker, 1 July 2024 Its ontological status is of something prior to functions and even to things. James Parker, The Atlantic, 13 June 2024 To set up his explanation, Sartre introduces the ontological distinction between being-in-itself and being-for-itself. Theodore McDarrah, Forbes, 27 Feb. 2024 Which, predictably, is its own ontological rigamarole.9 10 More common in Yeshivish circles (at least in my experience), this tradition mainly just involves gathering late Thursday night to learn Torah and eat cholent. Benjamin Dubow, Longreads, 20 Feb. 2024 The woman had made a move forward, toward ontological security, only to be catapulted back into insecurity and fear. Photographs By Ashley Gilbertson, New York Times, 23 Apr. 2020 There is no ontological truth to any of this, which means there is ample space to contest them, to criticize them, to deconstruct them and to put them back together again. J.p. Brammer, Los Angeles Times, 14 Sep. 2023 Speakers also delved into the consciousness of primates, spiders and plants, the ontological status of virtual reality and dreams and the implications of dementia and other pathological states. John Horgan, Scientific American, 26 June 2023 There's a bit of discussion going around concerning the ontological status of Adam and Eve -- is the story literally true, useful metaphor, not really true but based somehow in reality, or what? Sean Carroll, Discover Magazine, 18 Aug. 2011

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ontological.' 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

1705, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of ontological was in 1705

Dictionary Entries Near ontological

Cite this Entry

“Ontological.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ontological. Accessed 22 Jul. 2024.

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