\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 Summit kicks off on Friday, November 30, with a day of career immersions to help support all of readers on their professional paths to success. Teen Vogue Staff, Teen Vogue, "How to Get Tickets for the Teen Vogue Summit Los Angeles 2018," 9 Nov. 2018 In other words, as long as Pelosi can get 218 votes, her path is looking clear. Ella Nilsen, Vox, "Why Nancy Pelosi is still confident she’ll become House speaker," 9 Nov. 2018 However, the central bank signaled comfort with its policy path on Thursday and voiced confidence that U.S. growth remained strong, Mr. Kazmi said, adding that the market has already priced in increases in December and next year. Donato Paolo Mancini, WSJ, "U.S. Stocks Drop on Global Growth Worries," 9 Nov. 2018 Her parents and her grandmother Leila Bright are her biggest influences, reveals Alsobrooks, and their emphasis on education despite not having gone to college themselves helped set her on her current path—and education is her top issue. Jill Filipovic, Harper's BAZAAR, "Your State-by-State Guide to Women Running in the Midterms," 31 Oct. 2018 Through its Ask a Woman to Run tool and She Should Run incubator, women from all backgrounds can enroll in courses on leadership, networking, and communication skills to build their individual paths to candidacy. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "6 Political Candidate Organizations Helping Women Run for Office," 25 Oct. 2018 On Friday, October 5, Venus — the celestial body that governs love, beauty, and money — will be reversing its path in the sky. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What October's Gemini Horoscope Means for You," 30 Sep. 2018 There's about 10 seconds of that towards the end, a ring of fire destroying everything in its path. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "This week in games: Battlefield V teases its battle royale mode, Deep Silver acquires TimeSplitters," 17 Aug. 2018 Cultures from the Maya to the Chinese, and from the Aboriginal Australians to the Greeks, left observations of its wandering path across the sky. Meghan Bartels,, "Who Discovered Mars, Anyway? A Look Back at the History of the Red Planet," 27 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

14 Nov 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

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full of whispering sounds

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