Alternative formsEdit


meta- +‎ physic


metaphysic (not comparable)

  1. (philosophy, archaic) Metaphysical.
    • c. 1720, Jonathan Swift, "Ode on Science," lines 32-33:
      Bring sweet philosophy along,
      In metaphysic dreams.


metaphysic (countable and uncountable, plural metaphysics)

  1. (philosophy, uncountable, archaic) The field of study of metaphysics.
    • 1876, Editor, "Prefatory Words," Mind, vol. 1, no. 1, p. 5:
      With reference to general Philosophy or Metaphysic proper, psychology may be viewed as a kind of common ground whereon thinkers of widely different schools may meet.
  2. (philosophy, countable) The metaphysical system of a particular philosopher or of a particular school of thought.
    • 1775, Samuel Horsley, "An Abridged State of the Weather at London in the Year 1774," Philosophical Transactions (1683-1775), vol. 65, p. 182:
      The uncertain conclusions of an ill-conducted analogy, and a false metaphysic, were mixed with a few simple precepts derived from observation, which probably made the whole of the science of prognostication in its earliest and purest state.
    • 1954, Frederick C. Copleston, "Review of Metaphysical Journal by Gabriel Marcel," Philosophy, vol. 29, no. 109, p. 170:
      It should be pointed out to the prospective reader that he will not find here the systematic presentation of a metaphysic.
    • 2003, Christine Helmer, "Mysticism and Metaphysics," The Journal of Religion, vol. 83, no. 4, p. 521:
      A Neoplatonic metaphysic is the flip side of mysticism.
  3. (philosophy, countable) A fundamental principle or key concept.
    • 1927, Charles M. Perry, "A Principle for Realism," The Journal of Philosophy, vol. 24, no. 20, p. 537:
      What we need as a metaphysic and what the logical realists are at least glimpsing, is the principle of contradiction.


  • Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed., 1989.
  • Random House Webster's Unabridged Electronic Dictionary, 1987-1996.