Share this entry
ontology Syllabification: on·tol·o·gy
Pronunciation: /änˈtäləjē/

Definition of ontology in English:


1The branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature of being.
Example sentences
  • For such reasons as these Heidegger believes that ontology and phenomenology coincide.
  • Heidegger interprets such judgements as belonging to general metaphysics or ontology.
  • This question, we have seen, is also a central concern in Mead's ontology and epistemology.
2A set of concepts and categories in a subject area or domain that shows their properties and the relations between them: what’s new about our ontology is that it is created automatically from large datasets we’re using ontologies to capture and analyze some of the knowledge in our department
More example sentences
  • He's in charge of maintaining an ontology composed of 400,000 concepts and which uses Description Logic based definitions.
  • In this case the batch process operates on the full ontology, that is 400,000 concepts and 1.5 million relationships between them.
  • The application allows the users to inspect the ontology, make queries to it and propose changes.


Example sentences
  • ‘Ontology’ is a grandiose name for a part of metaphysics: an ontologist attempts to determine what sort of things really exist, what are the fundamental entities of which the world consists.
  • We boast of our outlaw status as outsiders or marginals, as guerilla ontologists; why then, do we continually beg for authenticity and validation (either as ‘reward’ or as ‘punishment’) from authority?
  • Many ‘ontologists’ are truly re-inventing the wheel - an already-developed thesaurus for their subject matter may be hiding in the stacks of their local university library.


Early 18th century: from modern Latin ontologia, from Greek ōn, ont- 'being' + -logy.

Definition of ontology in:
Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources