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 physical (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for physical

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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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

Adjective 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 The only restrictions on unvaccinated players come from the NBA, which include masks, physical distancing and testing mandates. Jim Owczarski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 13 Oct. 2021 Simoni explained that even with many students studying online, safety protocols like mask mandates, weekly testing and physical distancing are still in place. Adria Watson,, 10 Oct. 2021 Before the Delta variant wave of late summer, California lifted most of its Covid-19 restrictions on June 15 ending capacity limits, physical distancing and some mask requirements. Amir Vera, CNN, 9 Oct. 2021 Participants are encouraged to wear masks indoors and wherever physical distancing is not possible. Brieanna J. Frank, The Arizona Republic, 6 Oct. 2021 The lawsuit asks that U.S. District Judge Timothy Batten Sr. order the district to follow guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Preventionn on masks, ventilation, physical distancing and contact tracing. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 5 Oct. 2021 Thompson: Something that Tom has not done a massive amount of, but seems to have a flair for, is physical comedy. Simon Thompson, Forbes, 1 Oct. 2021 Apart from the broad strokes of physical comedy inspiration, Harold’s look was created by makeup effects designer Joel Echallier in a way that allowed Wright as much adaptability as possible. Zoe Hewitt, Variety, 30 Sep. 2021 But a glut of data has also proved that testing, even when mandated, can’t halt infections alone; the strategy’s been most successful when paired with masking, physical distancing, and, more recently, vaccines. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 27 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The psychological, emotional and spiritual abuse may prove to be as lasting and egregious as the physical. Father Edward Beck, CNN, 6 Oct. 2021 For two-time Olympic gold medalist, world and U.S. national champion sprinter Natasha Hastings, the mental aspect of sports is equally as important as the physical. Michael Loré, Forbes, 1 Sep. 2021 Earlier in the day, the Patriots terminated the contract of the Super Bowl LIII MVP after the receiver failed a physical. Kyle Hightower,, 12 Apr. 2021 Finally, growing demand for electricity makes the grid an increasingly rich target for both physical and cyberattacks, for which the US is ill-prepared, according to a 2019 federal review. Tim Mcdonnell, Quartz, 10 Sep. 2021 Stanley was activated off the physically-unable-to-perform list after passing his physical. Jon Meoli,, 10 Aug. 2021 When my son, 13, went for his annual physical, the topic of Covid vaccination came up. Ray Prisament, WSJ, 9 Aug. 2021 Johnson, a receiver from 1982-86, also informed Schembechler after his first physical with Anderson that Anderson had assaulted him, attorney Dennis Mulvihill said. Ed White,, 9 June 2021 Barkley passed his physical and returned to practice last week, but his workload has been limited., 25 Aug. 2021

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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Time Traveler for physical

Time Traveler

The first known use of physical was in 1580

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Dictionary Entries Near physical



physical anthropology

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Statistics for physical

Last Updated

15 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Physical.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Oct. 2021.

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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 physical (audio) \ adverb



Medical Definition of physical (Entry 2 of 2)

More from Merriam-Webster on physical

Nglish: Translation of physical for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of physical for Arabic Speakers


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