phys·​i·​cal | \ ˈfi-zi-kəl How to pronounce physical (audio) \

Definition of physical

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : of or relating to natural science
b(1) : of or relating to physics
(2) : characterized or produced by the forces and operations of physics
2a : having material existence : perceptible especially through the senses and subject to the laws of nature everything physical is measurable by weight, motion, and resistance— Thomas De Quincey
b : of or relating to material things
3a : of or relating to the body physical abuse
b(1) : concerned or preoccupied with the body and its needs : carnal physical appetites
(2) : sexual a physical love affair physical attraction
c : characterized by especially rugged and forceful physical activity : rough a physical hockey game a physical player



Definition of physical (Entry 2 of 2)

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Other Words from physical


physicalness \ ˈfi-​zi-​kəl-​nəs How to pronounce physicalness (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for physical

Synonyms: Adjective

animal, bodily, carnal, corporal, corporeal, fleshly, material, somatic

Antonyms: Adjective

nonmaterial, nonphysical

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Choose the Right Synonym for physical


material, physical, corporeal, phenomenal, sensible, objective mean of or belonging to actuality. material implies formation out of tangible matter; used in contrast with spiritual or ideal it may connote the mundane, crass, or grasping. material values physical applies to what is perceived directly by the senses and may contrast with mental, spiritual, or imaginary. the physical benefits of exercise corporeal implies having the tangible qualities of a body such as shape, size, or resistance to force. artists have portrayed angels as corporeal beings phenomenal applies to what is known or perceived through the senses rather than by intuition or rational deduction. scientists concerned with the phenomenal world sensible stresses the capability of readily or forcibly impressing the senses. the earth's rotation is not sensible to us objective may stress material or independent existence apart from a subject perceiving it. no objective evidence of damage

Examples of physical in a Sentence


The program is designed to address both physical and emotional health. No physical contact with other players is allowed in the game. He has an unusual physical appearance. There was no physical evidence of the crime. Their relationship was purely physical.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Ring Fit Adventure is a nice option for those who want a game that allows for physical activity. Lisa Marie Segarra, Fortune, "Nintendo Unveils New Fitness Game: ‘Ring Fit Adventure.’ Here’s What It’s Like," 12 Sep. 2019 The researchers collected 107 eels in four countries and found differences in their DNA, along with minor physical variations. Fox News, "World’s most powerful electric eel discovered, can generate 860-volt shock," 12 Sep. 2019 The Martins, however, just represent a more extreme version of how many of us live online, expanding our networks, sharing our lives with people beyond our physical reach. Hua Hsu, The New Yorker, "Instagram, Facebook, and the Perils of “Sharenting”," 11 Sep. 2019 In Medvedev, Nadal faced one of the few players with the requisite defensive skills and physical endurance to transform any match into an endless baseline slugfest. Kevin Craft, The Atlantic, "Rafael Nadal Takes Another Step Toward Tennis History," 9 Sep. 2019 The game between the Chiefs and Jaguars has been testy, with both sides being physical and engaging in contact well after whistles. Lorenzo Reyes, USA TODAY, "Jaguars LB Myles Jack ejected vs. Chiefs for throwing punch," 8 Sep. 2019 Humans tend to respect men with particular physical characteristics. The Economist, "The eyes have it," 8 Sep. 2019 Debra Meyer With one or more of the male ancestors in my maternal lineage being Khoi-San, the cross-over sharing of chromosomal DNA between parents explains the Khoi-San phenotype—that is, observable, physical characteristics – in my family. Debra Meyer, Quartz Africa, "How an African scientist used mitochondrial DNA to discover she had ancestral South Asian roots," 6 Sep. 2019 Birds already have a better heart and lungs than mammals for sustained physical activity. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "This bird really can fly over Mount Everest, wind tunnel experiments reveal," 3 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Detroit Red Wings are scheduled to undergo physicals Sept. 12 and begin the on-ice part of training camp Sept. 13 at Centre Ice Arena in Traverse City. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press, "When will Detroit Red Wings anoint Dylan Larkin the next captain?," 4 Aug. 2019 There's the hunt for new school clothes, backpacks, school supplies, haircuts, physicals and more. Chris Sims, Indianapolis Star, "Free backpacks, school supplies and more: Back-to-school events, parties around Indianapolis," 25 July 2019 The Houston school district has required physicals since 2015. Loyd Brumfield, Dallas News, "New UIL rule means Texas band students must march to doctor for a physical before Aug. 1," 6 July 2019 Brown began camp on the non-football injury list, but he was removed from the list after passing a physical. Matt Kawahara,, "Raiders’ Antonio Brown loses helmet grievance, says he’ll rejoin team," 12 Aug. 2019 Both teams said the trade is contingent on Vedvik passing a physical. Chris Tomasson, Twin Cities, "Vikings acquire punter-kicker Kaare Vedvik from Ravens, cut Kevin McDermott," 11 Aug. 2019 Free backpacks with school supplies will be given out, as well as free haircuts, school uniforms, school physicals, free food and more. Austen Erblat,, "Free backpacks, school supplies, haircuts, uniforms at Boynton Beach back-to-school fairs," 23 July 2019 In addition, the health department offers back to school physicals by appointments only. Naseem S. Miller,, "Where to get back-to-school physicals in Orlando," 17 July 2019 Johnson attempted a second stint with the Wings in 2006, but his tryout ended before training camp began when a physical revealed a cardiac issue. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press, "Greg Johnson, who played for the Detroit Red Wings from 1993-97, dead at 48," 9 July 2019

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


1580, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1934, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for physical


Middle English phisicale medical, from Medieval Latin physicalis, from Latin physica

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Statistics for physical

Last Updated

17 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for physical

The first known use of physical was in 1580

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More Definitions for physical



English Language Learners Definition of physical

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: relating to the body of a person instead of the mind
: existing in a form that you can touch or see
: involving or related to sex



English Language Learners Definition of physical (Entry 2 of 2)

: a medical examination to see if a person's body is healthy


phys·​i·​cal | \ ˈfi-zi-kəl How to pronounce physical (audio) \

Kids Definition of physical

1 : of the body : bodily A stallion with a wonderful physical perfection …— Walter Farley, The Black Stallion
2 : existing in a form that can be touched or seen physical objects
3 : of or relating to physics

Other Words from physical

physically adverb


phys·​i·​cal | \ ˈfiz-i-kəl How to pronounce physical (audio) \

Medical Definition of physical

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : having material existence : perceptible especially through the senses and subject to the laws of nature
2a : of or relating to physics
b : characterized or produced by the forces and operations of physics
3 : of or relating to the body

Other Words from physical

physically \ -​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce physically (audio) \ adverb



Medical Definition of physical (Entry 2 of 2)

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More from Merriam-Webster on physical

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with physical

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for physical

Spanish Central: Translation of physical

Nglish: Translation of physical for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of physical for Arabic Speakers

Comments on physical

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


concealment of treason or felony

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