on·​tol·​o·​gy | \ än-ˈtä-lə-jē How to pronounce ontology (audio) \

Definition of ontology

1 : a branch of metaphysics concerned with the nature and relations of being Ontology deals with abstract entities.
2 : a particular theory about the nature of being or the kinds of things that have existence

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Other Words from ontology

ontologist \ än-​ˈtä-​lə-​jist How to pronounce ontologist (audio) \ noun

Examples of ontology in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Temporalities, ontologies, and epistemologies are discussed. Nate Berg, Curbed, "Can engineering save Louisiana’s coastline?," 7 Nov. 2018 With a prolific career including more than 90 works, Lin developed his own choreographic style blending Western dance with Eastern ontology. Lauren Warnecke, chicagotribune.com, "Likely the last chance to see founder lead the Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan," 27 Feb. 2018 Emezi describes this elaborate ontology in raw, sensual terms, steeping us in the smells and sights of her mythic world with incantatory lines that bring the ineffable to life. David Wright, The Seattle Times, "‘Freshwater’: a bewitching tale of gods and a girl coming of age," 20 Feb. 2018 Why credit them with some kind of genius secret plan when the ontology of the executive order seems plainly apparent? Katy Waldman, Slate Magazine, "Why are so many people convinced that Donald Trump has a master plan?," 10 Feb. 2017 But when conducted best—including in Breville’s case, and despite Hoare’s insistence otherwise—design is more related to the philosophy of what things are, called ontology. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "Why a Toaster Is a Design Triumph," 20 July 2017 But that would require buying many tickets and sitting through many, many hours of people translating medieval ontology into arch latter-day vernacular, saying what is essentially the same thing again and again and again. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Review: In ‘Everybody,’ Mortality Loves Company," 21 Feb. 2017

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

1663, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ontology

New Latin ontologia, from ont- + -logia -logy

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Time Traveler for ontology

The first known use of ontology was in 1663

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More from Merriam-Webster on ontology

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ontology

Britannica English: Translation of ontology for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about ontology

Comments on ontology

What made you want to look up ontology? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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