peri·​pa·​tet·​ic | \ ˌper-ə-pə-ˈte-tik How to pronounce peripatetic (audio) \

Definition of peripatetic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 capitalized : a follower of Aristotle or adherent of Aristotelianism
3 peripatetics\ ˌper-​ə-​pə-​ˈte-​tiks How to pronounce peripatetic (audio) \ plural : movement or journeys hither and thither



Definition of peripatetic (Entry 2 of 2)

1 capitalized : aristotelian
2a : of, relating to, or given to walking
b : moving or traveling from place to place : itinerant

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Other Words from peripatetic


peripatetically \ ˌper-​ə-​pə-​ˈte-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce peripatetic (audio) \ adverb
Peripateticism \ ˌper-​ə-​pə-​ˈte-​tə-​ˌsi-​zəm How to pronounce peripatetic (audio) \ noun

Did You Know?


Are you someone who likes to think on your feet? If so, you've got something in common with the followers of the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle. Not only a thinker and teacher, Aristotle was also a walker, and his students were required to walk along beside him as he lectured while pacing to and fro. Thus it was that the Greek word peripatētikos (from peripatein, meaning "to walk up and down") came to be associated with Aristotle and his followers. By the way, the covered walk in the Lyceum where Aristotle taught was known as the "peripatos" (which can either refer to the act of walking or a place for walking).

Examples of peripatetic in a Sentence

Adjective She worked as a peripatetic journalist for most of her life. He had a peripatetic career as a salesman.
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Short on formal education, Ms. Stewart was long on curiosity and peripatetic instinct, which carried her from Ireland to California in between seasonal work at Michigan resorts. New York Times, "A Year of Hardship, Helped and Hindered by Washington," 12 Feb. 2021 Marked by wide-ranging business ventures, grand gestures and righteous causes, his peripatetic life was driven by the joy in whims. Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times, "Review: Nine children with six women? ‘Film About a Father Who’ untangles director’s family tree," 15 Jan. 2021 The daughter of an Armenian-American mother and a Ghanaian father who worked for the United Nations, Owusu had a peripatetic childhood. Claire Messud, Harpers Magazine, "New Books," 5 Jan. 2021 Because of his peripatetic international childhood, Schein speaks English, German, Swiss and Hebrew. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Faces of the arts shutdown: Actor and playwright Omri Schein: ‘I need live theater’," 20 Dec. 2020 With everyone from vacationers to peripatetic social media influencers grounded, tourist destinations are reeling just as badly. Eric Adams, Wired, "Airlines’ Pandemic-Driven Cargo Business Will Keep Flying," 18 Dec. 2020 The urge to save fading memories from oblivion opens him to anyone who crosses his peripatetic path. Colin Thubron, The New York Review of Books, "Cartographers of Stone and Air," 17 Nov. 2020 Their peripatetic lifestyle shows a lot about the way Americans are fundamentally rethinking their sense of work and home – and about the challenges and inequalities that may follow. Stephanie Hanes, The Christian Science Monitor, "Spawned by the pandemic, digital nomads are redefining ‘home’," 17 Nov. 2020 At least for now, no Biden has sued the peripatetic Rudy Giuliani for libel and character defamation. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "Vote No on 1984," 2 Nov. 2020

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


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for peripatetic


Middle French & Latin; Middle French peripatetique, from Latin peripateticus, from Greek peripatētikos, from peripatein to walk up and down, discourse while pacing (as did Aristotle), from peri- + patein to tread; akin to Sanskrit patha path — more at find

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The first known use of peripatetic was in the 15th century

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Cite this Entry

“Peripatetic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of peripatetic

formal : going from place to place usually as part of your job

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