phe·​nom·​e·​nol·​o·​gy | \ fi-ˌnä-mə-ˈnä-lə-jē How to pronounce phenomenology (audio) \
plural phenomenologies

Definition of phenomenology

1 : the study of the development of human consciousness and self-awareness as a preface to or a part of philosophy
2a(1) : a philosophical movement that describes the formal structure of the objects of awareness and of awareness itself in abstraction from any claims concerning existence
(2) : the typological classification of a class of phenomena the phenomenology of religion
b : an analysis produced by phenomenological investigation

Other Words from phenomenology

phenomenologist \ fi-​ˌnä-​mə-​ˈnä-​lə-​jist How to pronounce phenomenology (audio) \ noun

Examples of phenomenology in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web While the phenomenology has changed over time, melancholy hasn’t gone anywhere. Mina Seçkin,, 17 Nov. 2021 So at the level of experience, at the level of phenomenology, consciousness has these two properties that coexist. Quanta Magazine, 30 Sep. 2021 Beauvoir was the more expansive thinker and better stylist: dialectical; subtle; fluent in biology, psychoanalysis, sociology, anthropology, political theory, existentialism, phenomenology, and so on. Judith Shulevitz, The Atlantic, 28 July 2021 The phenomenology of its middling ordinariness is exactly what makes Bling Empire worthy of celebration. Jean Chen Ho, Harper's BAZAAR, 17 Feb. 2021 Issues of race and gender are explored in the show, along with the visual phenomenology of gaming technology. Steven Litt, cleveland, 8 Dec. 2019 Everybody liked a little pick-me-up, especially after one of Merleau-Ponty’s strenuous and long expositions on phenomenology. Longreads, 10 Apr. 2018 Andrija Puharich is the pioneer of the book, the man who monetized and institutionalized psychic phenomenology. Dick Teresi, New York Times, 25 Apr. 2017 Mayberg’s work, for instance, reveals something vital about both the physiology and phenomenology of depression — namely, that depression is not simply an absence or a lack but the instantiation of a network run amok. David Dobbs, WIRED, 4 July 2006 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'phenomenology.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of phenomenology

circa 1797, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for phenomenology

German Phänomenologie, from Phänomenon phenomenon + -logie -logy

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The first known use of phenomenology was circa 1797

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Cite this Entry

“Phenomenology.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for phenomenology


phe·​nom·​e·​nol·​o·​gy | \ fi-ˌnäm-ə-ˈnäl-ə-jē How to pronounce phenomenology (audio) \
plural phenomenologies

Medical Definition of phenomenology

: the way in which one perceives and interprets events and one's relationship to them in contrast both to one's objective responses to stimuli and to any inferred unconscious motivation for one's behavior also : a psychology based on the theory that phenomenology determines behavior

Other Words from phenomenology

phenomenological \ fi-​ˌnäm-​ən-​ᵊl-​ˈäj-​i-​kəl How to pronounce phenomenology (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on phenomenology

Britannica English: Translation of phenomenology for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about phenomenology


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