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From Middle English philosophie, Old French philosophie, and their source, Latin philosophia, from Ancient Greek φιλοσοφία (philosophía), from φίλος (phílos, loving) + σοφία (sophía, wisdom). Synchronically, philo- +‎ -sophy.



philosophy (countable and uncountable, plural philosophies)

  1. (uncountable, originally) The love of wisdom.
  2. (uncountable) An academic discipline that seeks truth through reasoning rather than empiricism.
    Philosophy is often divided into five major branches: logic, metaphysics, epistemology, ethics and aesthetics.
  3. (countable) A comprehensive system of belief.
  4. (countable) A view or outlook regarding fundamental principles underlying some domain.
    a philosophy of government;   a philosophy of education
  5. (countable) A general principle (usually moral).
  6. (archaic) A broader branch of (non-applied) science.
  7. (French printing, dated) Synonym of small pica.


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philosophy (third-person singular simple present philosophies, present participle philosophying, simple past and past participle philosophied)

  1. (now rare) To philosophize.
    • 1603, John Florio, transl.; Michel de Montaigne, Essayes, printed at London: Edward Blount, OCLC 946730821:
      , II.12:
      Plato hath (in my seeming) loved this manner of Philosophying, Dialogue wise in good earnest, that therby he might more decently place in sundry mouthes the diversity and variation of his owne conceits.

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