phil·​o·​soph·​i·​cal ˌfi-lə-ˈsä-fi-kəl How to pronounce philosophical (audio)
 also  -ˈzä-
variants or less commonly philosophic
ˌfi-lə-ˈsä-fik How to pronounce philosophical (audio)
 also  -ˈzä-
: of or relating to philosophers or philosophy
: based on philosophy
: characterized by the attitude of a philosopher
specifically : calm or unflinching in the face of trouble, defeat, or loss
philosophically adverb

Examples of philosophical in a Sentence

They got into a philosophical debate about what it means for something to be “natural.” He's trying to be philosophical about their decision since he knows he can't change it.
Recent Examples on the Web Much of Blackouts is a kind of Socratic dialogue between Juan and the narrator, yet instead of trading philosophical arguments in order to unearth essential truths, their principal mode of communication is storytelling. Tope Folarin, The Atlantic, 16 Nov. 2023 The drama tends to be substantive — fights over philosophical differences, for example, are commonplace. Erin B. Logan, Los Angeles Times, 15 Nov. 2023 The popularity of at-home streaming turned technology companies such as Apple and Amazon into entertainment giants, whose philosophical differences with traditional studios was something union leaders tried to exploit during negotiations. Herb Scribner, Washington Post, 15 Nov. 2023 Further Reading Mario Kart director philosophical about need for the blue shell Don't worry, though; at least one other controversial, last-place-assistance feature seems likely to stay in Mario Kart 8 for the foreseeable future. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, 9 Nov. 2023 This is an elegant, philosophical book, written for the interested layman,… Andrew J. Pierre EssayJanuary 1969 Postwar Development in Viet Nam Viet Nam has become more than a small country in South- east Asia. Robert Gale Woolbert, Foreign Affairs, 7 Nov. 2023 Artem was more direct, always in a rush, while Dmytro and Roman were more philosophical. Megan Specia, New York Times, 29 Oct. 2023 Can anyone other than Seidler not have philosophical differences with Preller? Nick Canepa, San Diego Union-Tribune, 28 Oct. 2023 Each individual’s relationship to his identity is both a question of philosophical sweep and one of brute survival. Inkoo Kang, The New Yorker, 27 Oct. 2023 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of philosophical was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near philosophical

Cite this Entry

“Philosophical.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


variants also philosophic
: of, relating to, or based on philosophy
: characterized by the attitude of a philosopher
especially : calm and patient when faced with trouble
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