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

The I-10 Bridge and Bayway project would be the first major Alabama infrastructure project authorized through the P3 process, which is a still emerging philosophy of governments teaming up with companies to finance projects. al.com, "Grassroots push looks to trip up legislation punishing toll scofflaws in Alabama," 9 June 2019 Sophia Zhang of Lincoln High School Zhang, a senior and National Merit Scholar, plans to pursue a pre-law program in philosophy, global economics, or environmental science. oregonlive.com, "2019 Rose Festival queen is Mya Brazile of St. Mary’s Academy," 8 June 2019 The game also represents the uneasy friendship between Professor X and Magneto, two powerful mutants with differing philosophies. Eliana Dockterman, Time, "Let's Talk About the Ending of Dark Phoenix," 7 June 2019 Meanwhile, the Littlejohns’ company, with its small-is-beautiful philosophy, soldiers on in its tiny space. Ruth Reichl, Town & Country, "This English Toffee is the Best Candy in the World," 6 June 2019 One widely accepted definition of socialism is a political and economic philosophy advocating that the entire means of production, distribution and exchange are owned or regulated by the community as a whole, i.e., the state. WSJ, "Is Socialism the Bright Future Once Again?," 25 Feb. 2019 The dividing line between the parties was no longer a philosophy about governing (a political ideology — more or less government). Ezra Klein, Vox, "A new theory for why Republicans and Democrats see the world differently," 18 Dec. 2018 For 25 years, that has been my professional philosophy. Stu Bykofsky, Philly.com, "Note to U.S. journalists: Whine not | Stu Bykofsky," 5 July 2018 Inclusivity, a nascent trend among beauty brands of late, has always been the grounding philosophy of the company. Jasmine Sanders, The Cut, "How to Look Perfect in the Summer," 21 June 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

15 Jun 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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