Definition of phenomenon in English:


Syllabification: phe·nom·e·non
Pronunciation: /fəˈnäməˌnän
, fəˈnäməˌnən

noun (plural phenomena /-nə/)

1A fact or situation that is observed to exist or happen, especially one whose cause or explanation is in question: glaciers are unique and interesting natural phenomena
More example sentences
  • I might add that sometimes explanations of physical phenomena involve mathematical facts.
  • It was left to Newton to provide the mathematical explanation of the phenomena that they observed.
  • They want science to be redefined to include non-natural or supernatural explanations for natural phenomena.
1.1A remarkable person, thing, or event.
More example sentences
  • Perhaps the remarkable phenomenon is that anything like the old nationalism echoed at all.
  • Hip-hop has long been one of the most fashion-conscious cultural phenomena in America.
  • As he nears the end of his remarkable career, Warne is a phenomenon waiting to be cast in gold for posterity.
marvel, sensation, wonder, prodigy, miracle, rarity, nonpareil
informal humdinger, phenom, stunner, doozy, ripsnorter
2 Philosophy The object of a person’s perception; what the senses or the mind notice.
More example sentences
  • No empirical phenomena seem to demand a notion of backward causation for our understanding of them.
  • Kant also says that the categories can be applied to phenomena, but not to noumena.
  • According to Bohr, the only real properties of natural phenomena are observed phenomena.


late 16th century: via late Latin from Greek phainomenon 'thing appearing to view', based on phainein 'to show'.


The word phenomenon comes from Greek, and its plural form is phenomena, as in these phenomena are not fully understood. It is a mistake to treat phenomena as if it were a singular form, as in this is a strange phenomena.

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