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 peripatetics (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 peripatetically (audio) \ adverb
Peripateticism \ ˌper-​ə-​pə-​ˈte-​tə-​ˌsi-​zəm How to pronounce Peripateticism (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 The novel bops back and forth between these two pasts, intertwining the saga of Maxwell’s peripatetic life with the quest of Saul and Javier. Washington Post, "Bibliophiles love the mystery of a missing manuscript. ‘The Lost Book of Adana Moreau’ is just what they’re looking for.," 2 Feb. 2020 Life as a college football coach can be peripatetic at best., "After all, coaching has nothing on life as a carnival worker.," 3 Nov. 2019 Hunter was born Robert Burns and had a peripatetic childhood, including some time in a foster home. Nick Paumgarten, The New Yorker, "Robert Hunter Gave the Grateful Dead Its Voice," 1 Oct. 2019 Having returned from India as a bushy-bearded, barefoot, white-robed guru, Ram Dass, who was born Richard Alpert, became a peripatetic lecturer on New Age possibilities and a popular author of more than a dozen inspirational books. Douglas Martin, New York Times, "Baba Ram Dass, Proponent of LSD Turned New Age Guru, Dies at 88," 23 Dec. 2019 The movie’s pace is dizzying—the city and its environs, as shot by cinematographer Darius Khondji, bobble past in a peripatetic whirl. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "Uncut Gems Works Too Hard for Its Grit. But It's Hard to Look Away From Adam Sandler," 13 Dec. 2019 Today, both Loaëc (born in France) and Kuroki (born in Japan and raised in Paris) call Tokyo home, but the peripatetic pair are really global citizens who segued naturally from music into fashion and then into food. Vogue, "Kitsuné Is Serving Up Parisian Cool at a New West Village Café," 8 Nov. 2019 There’s a name for this peripatetic life style: clinicians, clients, and local officials call it the Florida Shuffle. Colton Wooten, The New Yorker, "My Years in the Florida Shuffle of Drug Addiction," 14 Oct. 2019 Joplin remained peripatetic, musically speaking, and driven. Holly George-warren, Time, ""If I Fail, I’ll Fail in Front of the Whole World." How Janis Joplin Became The Singer Who Wouldn’t Settle," 26 Oct. 2019

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 19 Feb. 2020.

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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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