Definition of a priori in English:

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a priori

Pronunciation: /ˌā prīˈôrī/


Relating to or denoting reasoning or knowledge that proceeds from theoretical deduction rather than from observation or experience: a priori assumptions about human nature
More example sentences
  • And, as seen earlier in connection with his ‘logic’, his concepts of demonstration and proof straddle the a priori / a posteriori distinction.
  • Historically the a priori / a posteriori distinction has been closely associated with that between the innate and the learned.
  • This conclusion is not, however, a complete vindication of his early scepticism: for the a priori / empirical distinction, which he sought to bring down as well, is both defensible and worth defending.
theoretical, deduced, deductive, inferred, postulated, suppositional


In a way based on theoretical deduction rather than empirical observation: sexuality may be a factor, but it cannot be assumed a priori [sentence adverb]: a priori, it would seem that his government was an extension of that power
More example sentences
  • I argue that an ethical critique is implicit in his objections to any attempt to speak a priori about language and thought.
  • This much of the theory's content can be specified, so to speak, a priori, before taking physical contingencies into account.
  • ‘It is difficult to conclude a priori that teeth which spontaneously pit are stronger teeth.’
theoretically, deductively, scientifically



Pronunciation: /āˈprīəˌrizəm/
Example sentences
  • Philosophers who advocate a naturalistic approach to epistemology sometimes intend only to reject the high apriorism mandated by the idea of epistemology as first philosophy.
  • Some neo-positivists cannot forgive him for his anti-positivism, and some empiricists cannot be patient with his apriorism.
  • Indeed, I spent a considerable amount of time during my post-doc year studying Austrian economics at NYU trying to convince a number of Austrians to abandon their commitment to apriorism.


Late 16th century: Latin, 'from what is before'.

Words that rhyme with a priori

a fortiori, a posteriori, memento mori, sori, thesauri, tori

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: a pri·o·ri

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