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 There were enormous philosophical differences about how to build a football program. Josh Bean |, al, "Why Rush Propst left USA Academy before ever coaching a game," 3 Mar. 2020 The results suggest that policy preferences are not based on core philosophical differences so much as the stories that parties tell themselves about why people are rich and poor to begin with. Jonathan Rothwell, New York Times, "Experiment Shows Conservatives More Willing to Share Wealth Than They Say," 13 Feb. 2020 Fourteen states have not expanded Medicaid, in part because of this philosophical difference, but also as a political stance to oppose former President Barack Obama's healthcare law. Kimberly Leonard, Washington Examiner, "Trump to let states overhaul Medicaid for the poor, seeking to change Obamacare without legislation," 30 Jan. 2020 Naturally, philosophical differences will still shape the way that different members of the conservative coalition would implement this policy reform. Daniel E. Burns, National Review, "The Charitable-Giving Deduction Needs to Be Fixed," 23 Jan. 2020 A year later, Air Force and Washington State brought philosophical differences to the desert. John Marshall, The Denver Post, "Air Force tops Washington State 31-21 at Cheez-It Bowl," 27 Dec. 2019 Get our daily newsletter Winslow’s apprenticeship under Wake quickly turns sour on account of philosophical differences. A.l., The Economist, "“The Lighthouse”: an engulfing dive into madness," 18 Oct. 2019 For American companies, the debate highlights fundamental, philosophical differences. Jill Disis, CNN, "American companies are taking enormous risks to do business in China," 11 Oct. 2019 As of January, 45 states and Washington D.C allowed religious exemptions for immunizations and 15 of those allowed for philosophical exemptions, according to the National Council of State Legislatures. Cole Lauterbach, Washington Examiner, "Illinois lawmakers could remove religious exemption for child vaccination," 28 Feb. 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

19 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Philosophical.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Mar. 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

March 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • field of crocuses
  • Which is a synonym of rectitudinous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

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!