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This page has 14 definitions of physical in English. Physical is an adjective and noun. Examples of how to use physical in a sentence are shown. Also define these 31 related words and terms: medicine, medical, doctor, physicianly, medicinal, curative, therapeutic, tangible, concrete, material, nature, physics, map, landscape, political, body, corporeal, bodily, sexual, carnal, force, contact, vigorous, aggressive, physical examination, checkup, check-up, parapsychology, manifestation, psychic, and ectoplasmic.


Alternative forms


Borrowed from Late Latin physicālis, from Latin physica (study of nature), from Ancient Greek φυσική (phusikḗ), feminine singular of φυσικός (phusikós).



physical (comparative more physical, superlative most physical)

  1. Of medicine.
    1. (obsolete) Pertaining to the field of medicine; medical. [15th–19th c.]
    2. (obsolete) That practises medicine; pertaining to doctors, physicianly. [18th c.]
      • 1788, Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary, Oxford 2009, p. 19:
        Her father was thrown from his horse, when his blood was in a very inflammatory state, and the bruises were very dangerous; his recovery was not expected by the physical tribe.
    3. (obsolete) Medicinal; good for the health, curative, therapeutic. [16th–19th c.]
    • Doctor definition
      A physician; a member of the medical profession; one who is trained and licensed to heal the sick or injured. The final examination and qualification may award a doctor degree in which case the post-nominal letters are D.O., DPM, M.D., DMD, DDS, in the US or MBBS in the UK. (1 of 8 doctor definitions)
    • Physicianly definition
      Befitting a physician.
  2. Of matter or nature.
    1. Pertaining to the world as understood through the senses rather than the mind; tangible, concrete; having to do with the material world. [from 16th c.]
      It's not so much a physical place as a state of mind.
    2. In accordance with the laws of nature; now specifically, pertaining to physics. [from 16th c.]
      • 2012 January 1, Michael Riordan, “Tackling Infinity”, in American Scientist[2], volume 100, number 1, page 86:
        Some of the most beautiful and thus appealing physical theories, including quantum electrodynamics and quantum gravity, have been dogged for decades by infinities that erupt when theorists try to prod their calculations into new domains.
      The substance has a number of interesting physical properties.
    3. Denoting a map showing natural features of the landscape (compare political). [from 18th c.]
    • Landscape definition
      A portion of land or territory which the eye can comprehend in a single view, including all the objects it contains. (1 of 7 landscape definitions)
  3. Of the human body.
    1. Having to do with the body as opposed to the mind; corporeal, bodily. [from 18th c.]
      Are you feeling any physical effects?
    2. Sexual, carnal. [from 18th c.]
    3. Involving bodily force or contact; vigorous, aggressive. [from 20th c.]
      This team plays a very physical game, so watch out.
    • Force definition
      Strength or energy of body or mind; active power; vigour; might; capacity of exercising an influence or producing an effect. (1 of 13 force definitions)
    • Aggressive definition
      Characterized by aggression; unjustly attacking; prone to behave in a way that involves attacking or arguing. (1 of 3 aggressive definitions)


Derived terms

Related terms



physical (plural physicals)

  1. Physical examination.
    How long has it been since your last physical?
    Synonyms: checkup, check-up
    • Check-Up definition
      Alternative form of checkup
  2. (parapsychology) A physical manifestation of psychic origin, as through ectoplasmic solidification.
    • Ectoplasmic definition
      Relating to, or having the properties or appearance of, ectoplasm.