phi·​los·​o·​pher | \ fə-ˈlä-s(ə-)fər How to pronounce philosopher (audio) \

Definition of philosopher

1a : a person who seeks wisdom or enlightenment : scholar, thinker
b : a student of philosophy
2a : a person whose philosophical perspective makes meeting trouble with equanimity easier
b : an expounder of a theory in a particular area of experience
c : one who philosophizes

Examples of philosopher in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Singer is the philosopher and Princeton University professor who helped pioneer the concept of animal rights and has since been a leading force for philanthropy and the ethics of giving. Washington Post, "Paul Simon and Peter Singer discuss ‘The Life You Can Save.’," 3 Dec. 2019 James Madison was a better philosopher than Alexander Hamilton (though a worse rapper). Jonah Goldberg, National Review, "Cancel the Primaries," 1 Nov. 2019 John Rawls, who died in 2002, was the most influential American philosopher of the twentieth century. Jedediah Britton-purdy, The New Republic, "What John Rawls Missed," 29 Oct. 2019 Maybe Warner would be there, or the philosopher Elaine Scarry or the sociologist Gina Neff. Wired, "An End to Pornography, Sophistry, and Panty Raids," 20 Sep. 2019 Christine Korsgaard is a distinguished philosopher who has taught at Harvard for most of her career. Thomas Nagel, The New York Review of Books, "What We Owe a Rabbit," 21 Mar. 2019 One is a philosopher who analyzes the nuances of sexism and misogyny; two others are political scientists who study the global decline of democracy and whether America might be next. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "The 9 thinkers who made sense of 2018’s chaos," 27 Dec. 2018 Stefaan Blancke is a philosopher at Ghent University and co-editor of Creationism in Europe (Johns Hopkins UP, 2014). Stefaan Blancke, Scientific American, "Why People Oppose GMOs Even Though Science Says They Are Safe," 18 Aug. 2015 This was a time when more and more reports about non-European life forms arrived in Europe, making philosophers wonder what all these people had in common. Tobias Rees, Quartz, "Why tech companies need philosophers—and how I convinced Google to hire them," 22 Nov. 2019

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for philosopher

Middle English philosophe, philosophre, from Anglo-French, from Latin philosophus, from Greek philosophos, from phil- + sophia wisdom, from sophos wise

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Time Traveler for philosopher

Time Traveler

The first known use of philosopher was in the 14th century

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Statistics for philosopher

Last Updated

21 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Philosopher.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 24 January 2020.

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More Definitions for philosopher


How to pronounce philosopher (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of philosopher

: a person who studies ideas about knowledge, truth, the nature and meaning of life, etc. : a person who studies philosophy


phi·​los·​o·​pher | \ fə-ˈlä-sə-fər How to pronounce philosopher (audio) \

Kids Definition of philosopher

1 : a person who studies ideas about knowledge, right and wrong, reasoning, and the value of things
2 : a person who takes misfortunes with calmness and courage

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Comments on philosopher

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


a feeling of well-being or elation

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