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

In the parenting-philosophy sense, no, no one really subscribes purposefully to a system of Negative Discipline. Marisa Lascala, Good Housekeeping, "What Is Positive Discipline? Experts Say This Method Is Effective at Getting Kids to Behave," 8 Mar. 2019 This leads to a discussion of Loeb's philosophy about the roles and responsibilities of academics. Rob Reid, Ars Technica, "Nailing down the nature of ‘Oumuamua—it’s probably a comet, but…," 29 Nov. 2018 Intuitive eating is a philosophy that rejects traditional dieting and calls for listening to your body's own cues to decide what, when, and how much to eat. Jaclyn London, Ms, Rd, Cdn, Good Housekeeping, "What Is Intuitive Eating? How to Eat Better Without Dieting, According to Nutritionists," 6 Mar. 2019 Another important distinction: The D.O. philosophy places a significant emphasis on the musculoskeletal system (your nerves, muscles, and bones) as a cornerstone of health. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "What Is a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, and Should You See One?," 6 Feb. 2019 Co-founders Rich and Vicki Fulop built Brooklinen on the philosophy that everyone deserves high-quality bedding at an affordable price. Danielle Tullo, House Beautiful, "7 Things You Should Know Before Buying Brooklinen Bedding," 11 Dec. 2018 Photo by Vlad Savov / The Verge Mercedes-Benz is a good example of the prevailing carmaker philosophy at the moment. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "The future of electric car design has yet to be written," 5 Oct. 2018 Jaclyn Hill subscribes to the same philosophy as so many other makeup artists: Makeup looks so much better on skin that's treated well. Marci Robin, Allure, "Jaclyn Hill Preps Her Skin With a $500 Moisturizer and $200 Primer," 9 Sep. 2018 The idea, inspired by the rising popularity of boutique hotels, serves as the principal philosophy behind each of their iconic eateries. Lucia Tonelli, ELLE Decor, "5 Restaurant Design Trends Making Their Way Into Your Home Now," 17 Aug. 2018

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

6 Apr 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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