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

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The research led by Dr. zur Hausen into the human papillomavirus, or HPV, turned a theory that was once on the fringes of scientific acceptance into new fields of ontological study and potentially spared tens of thousands of people from getting cancer. Brian Murphy, Washington Post, 31 May 2023 His ontological proof is an interesting intellectual venture and certainly has kept logicians busy since it was published 50 years ago, just before his death. Steven Levy, Wired, 22 Oct. 2021 My Face), who wrote with lyrical, epicurean elegance, and Charles Johnson (Oxherding Tale), whose stories of slave escapes are entwined with the Buddhist quest to get off the wheel of suffering, as well as with the ontological questions of Western philosophy. Calvin Baker, The Atlantic, 2 Aug. 2020 What's important to realize is that the ontological proof is perfectly logical -- that is, the conclusions follow inevitably from the premises. Sean Carroll, Discover Magazine, 10 Mar. 2011 But our point is ontological, not statistical. Jessica Riskin, The New York Review of Books, 21 Apr. 2022 Even more adolescent, despite the considerably older age of its star, is the Ryan Reynolds vehicle Free Guy (Amazon Prime), which imagines the same teleromantic scenario as Dune, except the guy falls for the girl not via dreams but across ontological levels. Jason Kehe, Wired, 14 Dec. 2021 By proving otherwise, the researchers raise intriguing questions about the ontological roots of language, and suggest that some shared features of our brains had a hand in shaping the development of language. Nathaniel Scharping, Discover Magazine, 14 Sep. 2016 Bryan argued that Darwin’s painting of humans as the descendants of apes was a demotion in ontological priority that provided tacit permission for the deaths of millions. Longreads, 24 Jan. 2023 See More

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 2 Jun. 2023.

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