Definition of physical in English:


Syllabification: phys·i·cal
Pronunciation: /ˈfizikəl


  • 1Of or relating to the body as opposed to the mind: a whole range of physical and mental challenges
    More example sentences
    • Mental and physical exhaustion retards the growth of body and mind, and it often causes a psychosomatic illness.
    • When cycling enthusiast Katie Bamber booked a charity trip to Vietnam she was bracing herself for a tough mental and physical challenge.
    • The healing takes places on an emotional level, a mental level, and on a body level, a physical level.
    bodily, corporeal, corporal, somatic; carnal, fleshly, nonspiritual, this-worldly
  • 1.1Involving bodily contact or activity: verbal or physical abuse football and other physical games
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    • We berate those who cross the line and leave the immature and underdeveloped open to the physical abuse of contact and collision sports.
    • Yes, there is the element of consent and the obvious foreknowledge that physical contact sports carry an inherent risk of injury.
    • These guys are playing a physical contact game, they're all steamed up.
    manual, laboring, labor-intensive, blue-collar
  • 2Of or relating to things perceived through the senses as opposed to the mind; tangible or concrete: pleasant physical environments physical assets such as houses or cars
    More example sentences
    • These are tangible, physical assets and totally unlike the stock of a typical NYSE company.
    • Common sense says that the physical environment has an impact on productivity.
    • Most businesses deal with the physical assets and the environment within, but have never looked at the people.
    material, concrete, tangible, palpable, solid, substantial, real, actual, visible
  • 2.1Of or relating to physics or the operation of natural forces generally: physical laws
    More example sentences
    • Certainly, before Newton, the very idea of physical law was at best a blur.
    • Feynman's work is filled with the sort of raw physical insight that physicists love and admire.
    • Today we understand most of these things in terms of physical forces acting under impersonal laws.


(also physical examination) Back to top  
  • A medical examination to determine a person’s bodily fitness.
    More example sentences
    • Planning to treat yourself to a complete physical for the New Year?
    • She loved going to the doctor's office and insisted on having a complete physical at every visit.
    • A healthy child from an area of high endemicity receives an annual physical.


get physical

informal Become aggressive or violent.
More example sentences
  • They fought over the controller for a good 20 minutes until their mom's had to separate them because they were getting physical.
  • In the first practice of their off-week, the Lions ran a spirited one-on-one passing drill with the cornerbacks getting physical at the line.
  • They even joked about what would happen if their competition got physical.
Become sexually intimate with someone.
More example sentences
  • We also got physical very much earlier in the relationship than I wanted to.
  • Women, on the other hand, live in a ‘emotion’ or ‘love’ house, whereas getting physical is a room they have to have a reason to get up, walk over to, and enter.
  • Will you be all right if she gets physical with someone else?



Pronunciation: /ˌfiziˈkalitē/
More example sentences
  • Why should this fixture produce so much passion, such physicality and - at times - such downright hate?
  • Concentration on physicality often means, frustratingly, that dialogue is stripped of emotion.
  • For all the strength required, Phillips exudes careful, finely wrought intelligence rather than physicality.


Pronunciation: /-ik(ə)lē/
More example sentences
  • I actually wanted to physically go and smash down all the doors in the neighbouring houses.
  • It was such a thrill to do this, working closely and physically with people on something fun.
  • Tom also did not like visitors in the house, often being physically sick when people called.


More example sentences
  • ‘I've got to learn the speed of the game and have patience with that, also the physicalness of it,’ he said through an interpreter after Tuesday's practice.
  • We weren't used to the physicalness - pushing, shoving, holding - and them not calling anything.
  • The other enthralling thing about sport is the physicalness of it.


late Middle English (in the sense 'medicinal, relating to medicine'): from medieval Latin physicalis, from Latin physica 'things relating to nature' (see physic). Sense 2 dates from the late 16th century and sense 1 from the late 18th century.

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