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

That being said, my job can be quite physical—moving around furniture, clothing racks, and shooting outside for hours on end. Vogue, "Sea of Shoes’ Jane Aldridge on Her Battle With Endometriosis—And How She’s Coping With Chronic Pain," 1 Apr. 2019 Today, the threat is less physical and more emotional—threats to our sense of self worth or our sense of emotional security, for example—but the stress center of our brain still ignites in the very same way. Caroline Foran, Glamour, "No, You Don’t Have to ‘Justify’ Your Anxiety," 27 Mar. 2019 Content drawn on physical whiteboards can be captured and brought into the virtual space, using the Office Lens technology Microsoft pioneered for the phone. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Microsoft Teams taps AI to boost new background, whiteboarding features," 19 Mar. 2019 Sam is brash, rude, crass, and the show is unapologetically physical. Chloe Schama, Vogue, "Pamela Adlon's Better Things Is Back and Better Than Ever," 27 Feb. 2019 After the telephone swing, Jacobs claimed that his girlfriend continued to be physical and attempted to kick him before falling. Morgan M. Evans, Fox News, "'Bachelor' star Amanda Stanton allegedly 'swung' phone at boyfriend prior to domestic violence arrest," 15 Sep. 2018 Note, too, that these new specs refer only to throughput speed, not to the physical USB cable or port. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "USB 3.2's horrible new branding scheme may create confusion for PC buyers," 26 Feb. 2019 Joe took a heavy toll on my mental and physical wellbeing. Crystal Ponti, Harper's BAZAAR, "What It's Actually Like To Be Stalked by Joe," 12 Feb. 2019 Multiple outlets say that the duchess is working with a doula, or a companion who provides emotional and physical assistance during childbirth. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "Meghan Markle May Be Taking an Alternative Approach to Childbirth," 5 Feb. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 School physicals will be available for $25 for township residents, $35 for non-residents. Staff Report, Daily Southtown, "Community news: Lincoln-Way cadets take 3rd at national academic bowl," 12 July 2018 Jackson provided care for President Barack Obama, conducting and supervising the last of three physicals Obama had during his eight years in office. Time, "President Trump Readies for Physical Exam After Declaring Himself 'a Very Stable Genius'," 9 Jan. 2018

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

14 Apr 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

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).


having no equal

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