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


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

Sectors that require lots of capital and a large physical presence will be tough to crack. The Economist, "Foreign financiers look past the trade war and ramp up in China," 6 July 2019 Cincinnati Enquirer For many, running is a favorite exercise to improve both mental and physical health. Ladan Nikravan Hayes,, "‘Let’s Talk’: Is running as hard on your legs and joints as people say?," 3 July 2019 Prout, listed at 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, has played in 262 career NHL games with Columbus, New Jersey and Calgary, and gives the Sharks a greater physical presence on the right side of their defense. Curtis Pashelka, The Mercury News, "Red Wings draft pick gets second chance with Sharks," 2 July 2019 For a lot of people, the ASMR community fills a genuine void and even more so, makes a difference in people’s mental and physical health. Annie Vainshtein,, "Everything you ever wanted to know about ASMR," 27 June 2019 The constant and prolonged exposure can lead to chronic illness, mental and emotional traumas, and physical injuries, which can be fatal. Ramona Sentinel, "Crime Prevention Corner: Domestic abuse comes in many forms," 26 June 2019 During the meeting, Glendale City Council members agreed that the program will only be open to extremely very low-income households, where all residents are over 62 years old and at least one has a mental or physical disability. Lila Seidman,, "Disabled seniors in Glendale will be able to apply for a rental subsidy beginning this fall," 25 June 2019 One teen daughter told authorities of physical and emotional abuse that had gotten so bad that two of her older siblings took her from New Mexico to Arizona to keep her safe, according to court documents. Russell Contreras, Anchorage Daily News, "Couple charged in case of extreme child abuse in New Mexico were subject of Alaska complaints," 25 June 2019 That means making sure your body language and physical presence is just right — and matches your message. NBC News, "Mika: Here's how women can boost their negotiating skills," 24 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Clarke is a high-energy player who can play physical in the post, a perfect complement to Jackson’s perimeter game., "NBA draft 2019: Trail Blazers, Bol Bol, Pac-12, Oregon Ducks among 10 winners and losers," 21 June 2019 Three of Colorado’s first five picks from the recent Major League draft were at Coors Field on Tuesday, where third baseman Aaron Schunk, reliever Jacob Wallace and outfielder Brenton Doyle had physicals and officially signed with the organization. Kyle Newman, The Denver Post, "Rockies’ southpaw Tyler Anderson undergoes surgery on left knee in Chicago," 11 June 2019 Position players report Friday for physicals, and the first full-squad workout is Saturday. Ryan Divish, The Seattle Times, "A bright, sunny day in Arizona as Mariners pitchers and catchers report for spring training," 12 Feb. 2019 The doctor recommends that a caseworker monitor the family and request follow-up physicals in six months, though there is no record of this ever happening. Glamour, "Broken Harts, Episode 5: 'Owies'," 8 Jan. 2019 High-scoring and physical, Liddell is a bruiser of a power forward who was Illinois' Mr. Basketball this past season. Jeff Greer, The Courier-Journal, "Big Board 2.0: Updated look at Class of 2019 prospects on Louisville basketball's wish list," 10 July 2018 Another feature is an occupational medicine clinic that offers comprehensive injury care and management, physicals, drug screenings and other testing services. Jennifer Michelle Greenberg, Houston Chronicle, "Memorial Hermann opens League City care facility," 26 Mar. 2018 The team sent medical staff to Atlanta to complete physicals with the four players as quickly as possible. USA TODAY, "LeBron, Cavs handle Hawks day after trade frenzy," 9 Feb. 2018 My dad—a guy who never smoked or drank, who worked out five days week, and whose job required him to pass bi-annual physicals—got the flu and suddenly died. Anonymous As Told To Ashley Edwards Walker, Marie Claire, "What It's Like to Be Sued by Your Own Mom," 24 Aug. 2016

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

7 Jul 2019

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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

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