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)

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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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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Pentatone has released it digitally and will release the physical album next month. Beth Wood, San Diego Union-Tribune, 22 May 2022 Both actors, who split in 2016, have exchanged allegations of physical altercations and substance abuse throughout the trial. Diana Dasrath, NBC News, 22 May 2022 After drawing the Washington Spirit 1-1 in a physical affair, the Portland Thorns wrap up their four-game home stand with a matinee match against the Houston Dash on Saturday. oregonlive, 21 May 2022 On June 1, eight days after Jennifer vanished, both Fotis Dulos and Michelle Troconis were arrested – not for murder, but for tampering with or fabricating physical evidence and first-degree hindering prosecution. Sgt. Erin Moriarty, CBS News, 21 May 2022 Since retiring as a professional cyclist, Michelle Khare has thrown herself into a staggeringly diverse array of physical challenges, from training with NASA astronauts to NFL players. Philip Ellis, Men's Health, 21 May 2022 The legacy of this violence is apparent in the relentless, unforgiving perfectionism that drives Jackson to go beyond his physical and psychological limits. Charles Mcnultytheater Critic, Los Angeles Times, 21 May 2022 Games such as badminton, capture the flag, and spikeball require more physical exertion and hand-eye coordination than others. Kathleen Willcox, Popular Mechanics, 21 May 2022 In the physical world, identifying a person is easier. Joe Burton, Forbes, 18 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The contrasts between Deborah and Ava are not just generational—they’re physical. John Anderson, WSJ, 10 May 2022 Keith says a mass was first discovered on his father’s shoulder a decade ago during a physical. Roy S. Johnson |, al, 9 Apr. 2022 In the lab, each fish undergoes a full physical, inside and out, first for sea lice attached to the animal’s skin and then for parasitic worms in its organs and gills. Rachel Nuwer, Scientific American, 28 Apr. 2022 In a playoff game that physical, that's amazing, OK. Mark Faller, The Arizona Republic, 26 Apr. 2022 Climate risk disclosure encompasses two major types of risk, physical and transition. Renny Vandewege, Forbes, 22 Apr. 2022 Ramirez had to complete a physical as the final step of the deal and once the Guardians returned home from their two-game sweep of Cincinnati on Wednesday, that task was completed. Paul Hoynes, cleveland, 14 Apr. 2022 Watson, who arrived in Cleveland on Thursday for a physical, was also asked about seeking counseling. Mark Heim |, al, 25 Mar. 2022 The Detroit Pistons' trade for Denver Nuggets forward Bol Bol has been voided after the organization found an issue with Bol's physical, according to a report from the Denver Post. Omari Sankofa Ii, Detroit Free Press, 13 Jan. 2022 See More

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.

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

24 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Physical.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for physical


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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