[ fi-los-uh-fee ]
/ fɪˈlɒs ə fi /

noun, plural phi·los·o·phies.

the rational investigation of the truths and principles of being, knowledge, or conduct.
any of the three branches, namely natural philosophy, moral philosophy, and metaphysical philosophy, that are accepted as composing this study.
a particular system of thought based on such study or investigation: the philosophy of Spinoza.
the critical study of the basic principles and concepts of a particular branch of knowledge, especially with a view to improving or reconstituting them: the philosophy of science.
a system of principles for guidance in practical affairs.
an attitude of rationality, patience, composure, and calm in the presence of troubles or annoyances.

Origin of philosophy

1250–1300; Middle English philosophie < Latin philosophia < Greek philosophía. See philo-, -sophy


an·ti·phi·los·o·phy, adjective, noun, plural an·ti·phi·los·o·phies. non·phi·los·o·phy, noun, plural non·phi·los·o·phies.

Example sentences from the Web for philosophy

British Dictionary definitions for philosophy

/ (fɪˈlɒsəfɪ) /

noun plural -phies

Word Origin for philosophy

C13: from Old French filosofie, from Latin philosophia, from Greek, from philosophos lover of wisdom

Cultural definitions for philosophy


A study that attempts to discover the fundamental principles of the sciences, the arts, and the world that the sciences and arts deal with; the word philosophy is from the Greek for “love of wisdom.” Philosophy has many branches that explore principles of specific areas, such as knowledge (epistemology), reasoning (logic), being in general (metaphysics), beauty (aesthetics), and human conduct (ethics).

Different approaches to philosophy are also called philosophies. (See also epicureanism, existentialism, idealism, materialism, nihilism, pragmatism, stoicism, and utilitarianism.)