Share this entry

anthropic principle Syllabification: an·throp·ic prin·ci·ple
Pronunciation: /anˌTHräpik ˈprinsəp(ə)l/

Definition of anthropic principle in English:


The cosmological principle that theories of the universe are constrained by the necessity to allow human existence.

In its ‘weak’ form the principle affirms that a universe in which living observers cannot exist is inherently unobservable. ‘Strong’ forms take this line of reasoning further, seeking to explain features of the universe as being so because they are necessary for human existence

Example sentences
  • Yet some scientists - though certainly not all - are convinced that the anthropic principle has intrinsic scientific worth.
  • Both gentlemen believe the anthropic principle strongly suggests an ultimate purpose to the universe.
  • The anthropic principle has given much weight to the theory of intelligent design.


1970s: anthropic from Greek anthrōpikos, from anthrōpos 'human being'.

Definition of anthropic principle 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.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day coiffeur
Pronunciation: kwäˈfər
a hairdresser