phe·​nom·​e·​nol·​o·​gy fi-ˌnä-mə-ˈnä-lə-jē How to pronounce phenomenology (audio)
plural phenomenologies
: the study of the development of human consciousness and self-awareness as a preface to or a part of philosophy
: a philosophical movement that describes the formal structure of the objects of awareness and of awareness itself in abstraction from any claims concerning existence
: the typological classification of a class of phenomena
the phenomenology of religion
: an analysis produced by phenomenological investigation
phenomenologist noun

Examples of phenomenology in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web So the real problem is about connecting mechanisms in the brain to these kinds of properties of phenomenology. Steven Strogatz, Quanta Magazine, 31 May 2023 As our knowledge improves, less of the human mind will appear mysterious, and more of its phenomenology will be associated with the physical body, in the same way that the charm of the Mona Lisa can be traced back to the specific paint marks left by da Vinci’s brush on the canvas. Avi Loeb, Scientific American, 20 Oct. 2020 This is the phenomenology of time, or what neuroscientists call time consciousness. Conor Feehly, Discover Magazine, 3 Nov. 2021 But the idea that there would be any accompanying bodily phenomenology to this knowledge is plainly nonsensical. Justin E. H. Smith, WIRED, 7 Mar. 2023 Human existence, in her handling, seems a primarily somatic enterprise, and her greedily adjectival prose can sometimes read like a sort of dramatized phenomenology. Leo Robson, The New Yorker, 29 June 2020 These steps – from phenomenology to causality and ultimately predictive intervention – are challenging for microbiome research efforts, given the enormously complex interactions occurring on the microscale. Jeffrey Marlow, Discover Magazine, 13 May 2017 In this exquisite passage, Duras gives a phenomenology of dissociation, of what can happen to a person when their psyche is so overwhelmed by affect that the self takes flight. Lili Owen Rowlands, The New Yorker, 29 Dec. 2022 The idea of an archaic architecture appealed to architect Louis I. Kahn, a mystic with a penchant for gnomic aphorism and musing on phenomenology. Dallas News, 5 Oct. 2022 See More

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

Word History


German Phänomenologie, from Phänomenon phenomenon + -logie -logy

First Known Use

circa 1797, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of phenomenology was circa 1797

Dictionary Entries Near phenomenology

Cite this Entry

“Phenomenology.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Sep. 2023.

Medical Definition


phe·​nom·​e·​nol·​o·​gy fi-ˌnäm-ə-ˈnäl-ə-jē How to pronounce phenomenology (audio)
plural phenomenologies
: the way in which one perceives and interprets events and one's relationship to them in contrast both to one's objective responses to stimuli and to any inferred unconscious motivation for one's behavior
also : a psychology based on the theory that phenomenology determines behavior
phenomenological adjective

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