phil·​o·​soph·​i·​cal | \ ˌfi-lə-ˈsä-fi-kəl also -ˈzä- How to pronounce philosophical (audio) \
variants: or less commonly philosophic \ ˌfi-​lə-​ˈsä-​fik also  -​ˈzä-​ How to pronounce philosophic (audio) \

Definition of philosophical

1a : of or relating to philosophers or philosophy
b : based on philosophy
2 : characterized by the attitude of a philosopher specifically : calm or unflinching in the face of trouble, defeat, or loss

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from philosophical

philosophically \ ˌfi-​lə-​ˈsä-​fi-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce philosophically (audio) also  -​ˈzä-​ \ 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 In Gerwig’s hands, the specific magic of the medium — its ability to reorder the sequence of events, to slow down and speed up, to project memory ahead of experience — becomes a tool of philosophical and emotional inquiry. New York Times, "‘Little Women’ Review: This Movie Is Big," 23 Dec. 2019 Discoveries about the Higgs boson and successes in cloning human stem cells prompted philosophical and ethical debates. Harmeet Kaur, CNN, "What Merriam-Webster's words of the year say about the past decade," 21 Dec. 2019 One line of argument in favor of this project was philosophical and aesthetic. Jean-baptiste Gouyon, Quartz, "A new generation of wildlife documentaries are confronting the climate emergency," 12 Dec. 2019 For all its fart jokes and sight gags, The Good Place belongs to a venerable philosophical and theological tradition. Matthew Robert Anderson, Quartzy, "“The Good Place” taps into our hunger for second chances and redemption," 27 Nov. 2019 At a deeper level, beyond detailing the shakers, strainers, glassware, and garnishes needed to prepare drinks, Mr. Regan examined the philosophical and ethical questions underlying the bartender’s craft., "‘‘The Joy of Mixology’’ sought to raise the job of bartending to a profession built on time-honored standards. The book became a guidepost for the craft cocktail movement that emerged across the country and throughout the world.," 25 Nov. 2019 At a deeper level, beyond detailing the shakers, strainers, glassware and garnishes needed to prepare drinks, Mr. Egan examined the philosophical and ethical questions underlying the bartender’s craft. Matt Schudel, Washington Post, "Gary Regan, ‘Joy of Mixology’ author who helped lead cocktail revolution, dies at 68," 23 Nov. 2019 Sixteen years later, when Trotter died, Du Bois contributed a remembrance of him to the N.A.A.C.P. magazine, acknowledging their philosophical and tactical differences but also paying tribute to Trotter’s foresight. Casey Cep, The New Yorker, "The Legacy of a Radical Black Newspaperman," 18 Nov. 2019 My only reluctance here is philosophical, and maybe weak: The guy was great. The Washington Post, "Chatological Humor (Jan 21)," 21 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'philosophical.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of philosophical

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about philosophical

Time Traveler for philosophical

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for philosophical

Last Updated

20 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Philosophical.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for philosophical


How to pronounce philosophical (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of philosophical

: of, relating to, or based on philosophy
: having a calm attitude toward a difficult or unpleasant situation


phil·​o·​soph·​i·​cal | \ ˌfi-lə-ˈsä-fi-kəl How to pronounce philosophical (audio) \
variants: also philosophic \ -​ˈsä-​fik \

Kids Definition of philosophical

1 : of or relating to the study of basic ideas about knowledge, right and wrong, reasoning, and the value of things
2 : showing wisdom and calm when faced with misfortune

Other Words from philosophical

philosophically adverb

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on philosophical

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


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!