What It Means
: relating to, involving, or dealing with abstract, general, or universal statements or laws
"Moreover, there is the often-incorrect assumption that crimes and offenders are sufficiently similar to be lumped together for aggregate study. In such cases the resulting nomothetic knowledge is not just diluted, it is inaccurate and ultimately misleading." — Brent E. Turvey, Criminal Profiling, 2011
"First, they can expect to find an investigation of the ways in which males and females differ universally: that is, of the nomothetic principles grounded in biology and evolutionary psychology that govern sex-differentiated human development." — Frank Dumont, A History of Personality Psychology, 2010
Did You Know?
Nomothetic is often contrasted with idiographic, a word meaning "relating to or dealing with something concrete, individual, or unique." Where idiographic points to the specific and unique, nomothetic points to the general and consistent. The immediate Greek parent of nomothetic is a word meaning "of legislation"; the word has its roots in nomos, meaning "law," and -thetēs, meaning "one who establishes." Nomos has played a part in the histories of words as varied as metronome, autonomous, and Deuteronomy. The English contributions of -thetēs are meager, but -thetēs itself comes from tithenai, meaning "to put," and tithenai is the ancestor of many common words ending in -thesis—hypothesis, parenthesis, prosthesis, synthesis, and thesis itself—as well as theme, epithet, and apothecary.
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Test Your Vocabulary
Fill in the blanks to complete a word for government or social management based on abstract ideas: _ d _ o _ r _ _ y.VIEW THE ANSWER
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