\ ˈpath , ˈpäth \
plural paths\ˈpat͟hz, ˈpaths, ˈpät͟hz, ˈpäths \

Definition of path 

(Entry 1 of 4)

1 : a trodden way a winding path through the woods

2 : a track specially constructed for a particular use a garden path of flagstones

3a : course, route the path of a meteor

b : a way of life, conduct, or thought decided on a career path in medicine

4a : the continuous series of positions or configurations that can be assumed in any motion or process of change by a moving or varying system

b : a sequence of arcs in a network that can be traced continuously without retracing any arc

5 : pathway sense 2 the optic path from the retina to the cerebral cortex

variants: or pathol

Definition of path (Entry 2 of 4)

variants: or patho-

Definition of path- (Entry 3 of 4)

: pathological state : disease pathogen

Definition of -path (Entry 4 of 4)

1 : practitioner of a (specified) system of medicine that emphasizes one aspect of disease or its treatment naturopath

2 [ International Scientific Vocabulary, from Greek -pathēs, adjective, suffering, from pathos ]

a : one suffering from a disorder (of such a part or system) psychopath

b : one perceiving telepath

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Synonyms for path

Synonyms: Noun

approach, avenue, passage, route, way

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Examples of path in a Sentence


We followed a winding path through the woods. The path led down the hill. The car skidded into the path of an oncoming truck. The fire destroyed everything in its path. The cars moved aside to clear a path for the ambulance. He tried to leave but one of the guards blocked his path. They are heading down a dangerous path that could lead to war.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Indianapolis Cultural Trail, completed in 2013, is an eight-mile loop of pedestrian and bike paths in downtown Indianapolis. Sarah Gish, kansascity, "Will Kansas City ever be bike-friendly? The city is about to roll out a plan," 13 July 2018 By bending too far down, Harper created more of an upward path with the barrel of his bat. Tom Verducci,, "Nine Innings: How Bryce Harper Is Trying to Revive His Season, What We Learned in the First Half and More," 9 July 2018 Scientific advances typically follow a couple of paths. Helen Branswell, STAT, "Research charity launches $330M initiative to fund high-risk life sciences projects," 9 July 2018 Kethledge also may face one of the easier paths to confirmation, officials have told the President. Philip Elliott, Time, "Inside Donald Trump's Supreme Court Deliberations," 9 July 2018 Much of the path out of the cave is flooded, and in places the cave gets as narrow as 70cm. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Elon Musk making “kid-sized submarine” to rescue teens in Thailand cave," 7 July 2018 The military is booting out immigrant reservists and recruits who enlisted with the promise of a path to citizenship, according to a AP report. Margaret Hartmann, Daily Intelligencer, "U.S. Army Is Discharging Immigrants Who Were Promised Citizenship," 6 July 2018 More: The chances a long-suffering nation wins the World Cup is greater than normal Every remaining team has shown a willingness, ramping up the physicality and refusing to be shouldered out of the way of a path to destiny. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "The World Cup is getting seriously dirty now," 4 July 2018 Construction of a bike path between Detroit Mercy and Marygrove College that links to the city's growing network of bike lanes and greenways, including the Dequindre Cut, is expected to begin this summer. Joe Guillen, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit's showcase neighborhood project falls a year behind schedule," 3 July 2018

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


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for path


Middle English, from Old English pæth; akin to Old High German pfad path

Combining form

New Latin, from Greek, from pathos, literally, suffering — more at pathos

Noun combining form

German, back-formation from -pathie -pathy

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Statistics for path

Last Updated

19 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for path

The first known use of path was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for path



English Language Learners Definition of path

: a track that is made by people or animals walking over the ground

: a track that is specially made for people to walk or ride on

: the area in front of someone or something that is moving


\ ˈpath , ˈpäth \
plural paths\ˈpat͟hz, ˈpät͟hz \

Kids Definition of path

1 : a track made by traveling on foot We followed a path through the woods.

2 : the way or track in which something moves or in which something will be encountered “Push the log in the path of the saw!” —Lemony Snicket, The Miserable Mill

3 : a way of life or thought


\ ˈpath, ˈpȧth \
plural paths\ˈpat͟hz, ˈpaths, ˈpȧt͟hz, ˈpȧths \

Medical Definition of path 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the way or route traversed by something the sweat glands are the chief paths by which water reaches the surface of the skin —Morris Fishbein

Medical Definition of path (Entry 2 of 2)

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Comments on path

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


an open space surrounded by woods

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