phil·​o·​soph·​i·​cal ˌfi-lə-ˈsä-fi-kəl How to pronounce philosophical (audio)
 also  -ˈzä-
variants or less commonly philosophic
ˌfi-lə-ˈsä-fik How to pronounce philosophical (audio)
 also  -ˈzä-
: of or relating to philosophers or philosophy
: based on philosophy
: characterized by the attitude of a philosopher
specifically : calm or unflinching in the face of trouble, defeat, or loss
philosophically adverb

Example Sentences

They got into a philosophical debate about what it means for something to be “natural.” He's trying to be philosophical about their decision since he knows he can't change it.
Recent Examples on the Web The clever script is overtly philosophical and cautions against destructive moral frameworks, but also warns against intellectual stimulation divorced from reality and tangible action. Wesley Stenzel,, 24 Jan. 2023 Joe’s employees were philosophical about the previous Powerball winner. Los Angeles Times, 13 Jan. 2023 Another argument is more philosophical: Why should dead billionaires get credit for helping to solve contemporary problems through the foundations bearing their names? Nuri Heckler, Smithsonian Magazine, 13 Jan. 2023 Arteta for his part was philosophical about the one injury blighting his otherwise rosy picture. Zak Garner-purkis, Forbes, 27 Dec. 2022 McCoy, who started all this in the first place, is more philosophical about the future of his creation. Joel Khalili, WIRED, 22 Dec. 2022 Chung, who counts scallion pancakes among his favorite dishes, is philosophical about the neighborhood’s changes. Kara Baskin,, 12 Dec. 2022 However, talking about political or philosophical subjects might cause arguments -- or at least intense debates. Chicago Tribune, 6 Jan. 2023 Norco belongs to a new wave of text-heavy games, like Disco Elysium and Kentucky Route Zero, which playfully interrogate political and philosophical ideas within a fantastical context. Clayton Purdom, Chron, 5 Dec. 2022 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of philosophical was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near philosophical

Cite this Entry

“Philosophical.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


variants also philosophic
: of, relating to, or based on philosophy
: characterized by the attitude of a philosopher
especially : calm and patient when faced with trouble
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

Challenging Words You Should Know

  • hedgehog reading a book
  • Often used to describe “the march of time,” what does inexorable mean?
Spell It

Hear a word and type it out. How many can you get right?

Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?