on·​tol·​o·​gy än-ˈtä-lə-jē How to pronounce ontology (audio)
: a branch of metaphysics concerned with the nature and relations of being
Ontology deals with abstract entities.
: a particular theory about the nature of being or the kinds of things that have existence
ontologist noun

Examples of ontology in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In a very broad sense these disciplines push against our conceptions of ontology. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 31 Aug. 2010 Au’s is a book of deceptive simplicity, weaving profound questions of identity and ontology into the fabric of quotidian banality. Matthew Gavin Frank, Harper's Magazine, 21 Feb. 2022 In this week’s episode of Robots in Depth, Per interviews Craig Schlenoff, from NIST. Craig Schlenoff talks about ontologies and the significance of formalized knowledge for agile robotics systems that can quickly and even automatically adapt to new scenarios. Evan Ackerman, IEEE Spectrum, 22 Dec. 2017 In at least some of these alternative ontologies, the visions that come to us unbidden, in the liminal states of insobriety, hypnagogia, or theurgic ecstasy, are not to be dismissed out of hand as obstacles to our apprehension of truth, but may in fact be vehicles of truth themselves. Justin E. H. Smith, WIRED, 7 Mar. 2023 Forget taxonomy, ontology, and psychology. Hari Kunzru, Harper’s Magazine , 22 June 2022 Good ontologies and formalized knowledge makes this possible. Evan Ackerman, IEEE Spectrum, 22 Dec. 2017 Most firms are still working toward implementing a central data fabric with a common ontology. Chris Perry, Forbes, 22 Mar. 2023 As an art form in which human beings are incarnated, drama is a natural conduit for metaphysics and ontology. Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times, 14 Mar. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ontology.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1663, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of ontology was in 1663

Dictionary Entries Near ontology

Cite this Entry

“Ontology.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ontology. Accessed 22 Feb. 2024.

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