Definition of polythetic in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌpɒlɪˈθɛtɪk/


Relating to or sharing a number of characteristics which occur commonly in members of a group or class, but none of which is essential for membership of that group or class.
Example sentences
  • The book of essays, he says, can be as diverse and polythetic and lacking in common themes as the individual.
  • Spickard claims that like musical performance for Schutz, ritual is a reordering of shared time: ‘Like music or poetry, prayer is a polythetic phenomenon.’
  • A polythetic agglomerative hierarchical cluster analysis was performed on the data with Sorensen's index as the distance measure, using PC-ORD Version 4.


1960s: from poly- 'many' + Greek thetos 'placed, arranged' + -ic.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: poly|thetic

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