philosophy

noun
phi·​los·​o·​phy | \ fə-ˈlä-s(ə-)fē How to pronounce philosophy (audio) \
plural philosophies

Definition of philosophy

1a(1) : all learning exclusive of technical precepts and practical arts
(2) : the sciences and liberal arts exclusive of medicine, law, and theology a doctor of philosophy
(3) : the 4-year college course of a major seminary
b(1) archaic : physical science
(2) : ethics
c : a discipline comprising as its core logic, aesthetics, ethics, metaphysics, and epistemology
2a : pursuit of wisdom
b : a search for a general understanding of values and reality by chiefly speculative rather than observational means
c : an analysis of the grounds of and concepts expressing fundamental beliefs
3a : a system of philosophical concepts
b : a theory underlying or regarding a sphere of activity or thought the philosophy of war
4a : the most basic beliefs, concepts, and attitudes of an individual or group
b : calmness of temper and judgment befitting a philosopher

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Synonyms for philosophy

Synonyms

credo, creed, doctrine, dogma, gospel, ideology (also idealogy), testament

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Examples of philosophy in a Sentence

There's plenty of blame to go around: poor regulation, eight years of a failed Republican economic philosophy, Wall Street-friendly Democrats who helped stymie reform, misguided bipartisan efforts to promote home ownership, Wall Street greed, corrupt CEOs, a botched rescue effort, painfully fallible central bankers. — Daniel Gross, Newsweek, 9 Mar. 2009 Broadly speaking, philosophy has three concerns: how the world hangs together, how our beliefs can be justified, and how to live. — Jim Holt, New York Times Book Review, 15 Feb. 2009 Almost none of the kids were older than twenty-five, as if there were a sell-by date on radical social philosophy, a legal age limit after which one must surrender lofty ideals and shave off all dreadlocks. — Matthew Power, Harper's, March 2008 In their mission statement, the editors bragged of their firm commitment to equality and social justice, but their philosophy didn't prevent them from summoning Lindsey to perform all their menial tasks. — Kim Wong Keltner, The Dim Sum of All Things, 2004 Her degree is in philosophy and religion. The group eventually split over conflicting political philosophies. Her main cooking philosophy is to use only fresh ingredients.
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Recent Examples on the Web

This philosophy applies not only to injectables, but carries over to skincare. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "14 Beauty Experts on the Lessons They’ve Learned From Their Mothers," 11 May 2019 Nowhere is this philosophy more clearly demonstrated than in Orrefors crystal lamps. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "Keep an Eye Out for Orrefors Crystal Lamps Whenever You Go Antiquing," 3 May 2019 That philosophy extends to her skin, which she's been baring on Instagram lately with no makeup and no filter. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Ciara Is "So Proud" of Growing Out Her Hair After Relaxer Damage," 30 Apr. 2019 These are the humanities departments—English, history, philosophy, classics and others—where enrollments have dropped precipitously since the financial crisis of 2008. Adam Kirsch, WSJ, "Stop Worrying About the ‘Death’ of the Humanities," 26 Apr. 2019 Yet, as someone whose spiritual practice is based in Buddhist philosophy and teaching, Oh is all about living in the moment. Alina Cho, Marie Claire, "Women of the Hour: Thandie Newton, Elisabeth Moss, and Sandra Oh," 5 Apr. 2019 Bohemian design today is about incorporating many different things from different philosophies, parts of the world, and ways of life. Sienna Fantozzi, House Beautiful, "Everything You Need To Know About Bohemian Design," 19 Oct. 2018 Staying true to Farrow & Ball's philosophy, the rich shades are 100% water-based, eco-friendly, and are available in a selection of high-performance finishes. Monique Valeris, ELLE Decor, "Farrow & Ball Releases Nine Gorgeous New Paint Colors," 21 Sep. 2018 This philosophy has continued to guide her forward. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "How Sarah Sellers Went From Surprise Podium Finisher at the Boston Marathon to Pro Athlete," 8 Apr. 2019

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

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

History and Etymology for philosophy

Middle English philosophie, from Anglo-French, from Latin philosophia, from Greek, from philosophos philosopher

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Statistics for philosophy

Last Updated

18 May 2019

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Time Traveler for philosophy

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

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More Definitions for philosophy

philosophy

noun

English Language Learners Definition of philosophy

: the study of ideas about knowledge, truth, the nature and meaning of life, etc.
: a particular set of ideas about knowledge, truth, the nature and meaning of life, etc.
: a set of ideas about how to do something or how to live

philosophy

noun
phi·​los·​o·​phy | \ fə-ˈlä-sə-fē How to pronounce philosophy (audio) \
plural philosophies

Kids Definition of philosophy

1 : the study of the basic ideas about knowledge, right and wrong, reasoning, and the value of things
2 : a specific set of ideas of a person or a group Greek philosophy
3 : a set of ideas about how to do something or how to live Live and let live—that's my philosophy.

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