philosophy

noun

phi·​los·​o·​phy fə-ˈlä-s(ə-)fē How to pronounce philosophy (audio)
plural philosophies
1
a(1)
: all learning exclusive of technical precepts and practical arts
(2)
: the sciences and liberal arts exclusive of medicine, law, and theology
a doctor of philosophy
(3)
: the 4-year college course of a major seminary
b(1)
archaic : physical science
(2)
: ethics
c
: a discipline comprising as its core logic, aesthetics, ethics, metaphysics, and epistemology
2
a
: pursuit of wisdom
b
: a search for a general understanding of values and reality by chiefly speculative rather than observational means
c
: an analysis of the grounds of and concepts expressing fundamental beliefs
3
a
: a system of philosophical concepts
b
: a theory underlying or regarding a sphere of activity or thought
the philosophy of war
4
a
: the most basic beliefs, concepts, and attitudes of an individual or group
b
: calmness of temper and judgment befitting a philosopher

Examples of philosophy in a Sentence

There's plenty of blame to go around: poor regulation, eight years of a failed Republican economic philosophy, Wall Street-friendly Democrats who helped stymie reform, misguided bipartisan efforts to promote home ownership, Wall Street greed, corrupt CEOs, a botched rescue effort, painfully fallible central bankers. Daniel Gross, Newsweek, 9 Mar. 2009
Broadly speaking, philosophy has three concerns: how the world hangs together, how our beliefs can be justified, and how to live. Jim Holt, New York Times Book Review, 15 Feb. 2009
Almost none of the kids were older than twenty-five, as if there were a sell-by date on radical social philosophy, a legal age limit after which one must surrender lofty ideals and shave off all dreadlocks. Matthew Power, Harper's, March 2008
In their mission statement, the editors bragged of their firm commitment to equality and social justice, but their philosophy didn't prevent them from summoning Lindsey to perform all their menial tasks. Kim Wong Keltner, The Dim Sum of All Things, 2004
Her degree is in philosophy and religion. The group eventually split over conflicting political philosophies. Her main cooking philosophy is to use only fresh ingredients.
Recent Examples on the Web The business is named for the Yoruba people of West Africa, a group respected for craftsmanship, philosophy, and storytelling. Nick Kasmik, USA TODAY, 25 June 2024 Surprising Science Has science conquered metaphysics, and all of philosophy? Big Think, 24 June 2024 Wang Wei, Poet of Buddhist Emptiness Focusing almost exclusively on nature, the Tang Dynasty poet Wang Wei expressed the philosophy of the Chan school. JSTOR Daily, 24 June 2024 Cupertino resident Mike Malik has a different philosophy. Stephanie Lam, The Mercury News, 23 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for philosophy 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'philosophy.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Middle English philosophie, from Anglo-French, from Latin philosophia, from Greek, from philosophos philosopher

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

Time Traveler
The first known use of philosophy was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near philosophy

Cite this Entry

“Philosophy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/philosophy. Accessed 13 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

philosophy

noun
phi·​los·​o·​phy fə-ˈläs-(ə-)fē How to pronounce philosophy (audio)
plural philosophies
1
: the study of the basic ideas about knowledge, truth, right and wrong, religion, and the nature and meaning of life
2
: the philosophical teachings or principles of a person or group
Greek philosophy
3
: the general principles of a field of study or activity
the philosophy of history
4
: someone's basic beliefs about the way people should live

More from Merriam-Webster on philosophy

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!