physical

1 of 2

adjective

phys·​i·​cal ˈfi-zi-kəl How to pronounce physical (audio)
1
a
: of or relating to natural science
b(1)
: of or relating to physics
(2)
: characterized or produced by the forces and operations of physics
2
a
: 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
3
a
: 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
physicalness noun

physical

2 of 2

noun

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

Example Sentences

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
It’s the motoring equivalent of running a marathon every day, with all the physical and mental strains that come with it; but then there’s the satisfaction and endorphin rush, too. Charlie Thomas, Robb Report, 18 Nov. 2022 That view contradicts much of halacha, or Jewish law, which prioritizes the physical and mental health of the mother. Shira Rubin, Washington Post, 18 Nov. 2022 There’s a paucity of data regarding the physical and mental health outcomes of gestational carriers. Bycarolyn Barber, Fortune, 17 Nov. 2022 The reigning Super Bowl champion dropped to the bottom of the NFC West, a stunningly swift plunge even for a team that was bound to face the physical and mental challenges that usually follow a title run, writes columnist Helene Elliott. Amy Hubbard, Los Angeles Times, 14 Nov. 2022 For one thing, cycling is a nice way to get people up and moving, which is good for both physical and mental health. WIRED, 14 Nov. 2022 The hurdles, according to Billups, involve overcoming both the physical and mental challenges following surgery. oregonlive, 14 Nov. 2022 Researchers also find association with harm to the child’s social competence, physical and mental health, sleep, academic performance, as well as an increase in aggressive behavior. Nizan Geslevich Packin, Forbes, 11 Nov. 2022 Throughout the spring semester, Gray continued taking classes online but struggled due to the physical and mental toll of chemotherapy. Sam Boyer, cleveland, 11 Nov. 2022
Noun
These steps enhance your mental recovery as well as your physical. Cindy Kuzma, SELF, 10 Nov. 2022 Shortly after her physical, Brooke was able to see her blood-work results online. Andrea Marks, Rolling Stone, 30 Sep. 2022 The deal is pending until Mullen passes a physical with Cardinals’ physicians. Bob Mcmanaman, The Arizona Republic, 30 Aug. 2022 The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the trade can't be finalized until Mayfield passes a physical. Tom Withers, ajc, 6 July 2022 The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the trade can’t be finalized until Mayfield passes a physical. Tom Withers, BostonGlobe.com, 6 July 2022 The Panthers will pay $4.8 million and Mayfield will take a $3.5 million pay cut, said the people, who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the trade can’t be finalized until Mayfield passes a physical. Tom Withers, Baltimore Sun, 6 July 2022 The exact rules and regulations differ between states, but the overarching goal of a pre-sports physical is to allow physicians (or other appropriate clinicians) to identify and then mitigate potential harms from youth sports participation. Megan Ranney, CNN, 30 Oct. 2022 While some have a physical on and off switch, others come with a remote to make changing colors and settings easy. Olivia Lipski, Good Housekeeping, 4 Oct. 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.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

Middle English phisicale medical, from Medieval Latin physicalis, from Latin physica

First Known Use

Adjective

1580, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

1934, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of physical was in 1580

Dictionary Entries Near physical

Cite this Entry

“Physical.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/physical. Accessed 27 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

physical

adjective

phys·​i·​cal
ˈfiz-i-kəl
1
a
: having material existence
b
: of or relating to material things
2
a
: of or relating to natural science
b
: of or relating to physics
3
: of or relating to the body : bodily
physically
-k(ə-)lē
adverb

Medical Definition

physical 1 of 2

adjective

phys·​i·​cal ˈfiz-i-kəl How to pronounce physical (audio)
1
: having material existence : perceptible especially through the senses and subject to the laws of nature
2
a
: of or relating to physics
b
: characterized or produced by the forces and operations of physics
3
: of or relating to the body
physically adverb

physical

2 of 2

noun

More from Merriam-Webster on physical

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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