Philosophy {Merriam Webster Dictionary}

phi·​los·​o·​phy | \ fə-ˈlä-s(ə-)fē  \

plural philosophies

Definition of philosophy

all learning exclusive of technical preceptsand practical artsarchaic c
pursuit of wisdombc
a system of philosophical conceptsb
the most basic beliefs, concepts, and attitudes of an individual or groupb

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Synonyms for philosophy


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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 GrossNewsweek9 Mar. 2009Broadly speaking, philosophyhas three concerns: how the world hangs together, how our beliefs can be justified, and how to live.— Jim HoltNew York Times Book Review15 Feb. 2009
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Recent Examples on the WebTrue to Henson's scalp-first philosophy, TPH's core products are scalp-specific treatments, including a wash, conditioner, serum, and scrub.— Aimee Simeon,, "Taraji P. Henson Turned A Beauty Faux Pas Into Target’s Hottest New Hair-Care Line," 29 Jan. 2020Featuring Jessica Riskin, Stanford history professor and Jean-Paul Gimon director of the France-Stanford Center for Interdisciplinary Studies; and Justin Smith, philosophy professor at the University of Paris 7.—, "Bay Area political events: Politic and rationality, Trump’s testing of America," 27 Jan. 2020

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

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First Known Use of philosophy

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

History and Etymology for philosophy

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

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Time Traveler for philosophy

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

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Statistics for philosophy

Last Updated

9 Feb 2020

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Cite this Entry

“Philosophy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Feb. 2020.

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English Language Learners Definition ofphilosophy

the study of ideas about knowledge, truth, the nature and meaning of life, etc.
a particular set of ideas about knowledge, truth, the nature and meaning of life, etc.
a set of ideas about how to do something or how to live


phi·​los·​o·​phy | \ fə-ˈlä-sə-fē  \
plural philosophies

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