Definition of dialectic in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌdʌɪəˈlɛktɪk/


[mass noun] (also dialectics) [usually treated as singular]
1The art of investigating or discussing the truth of opinions.
Example sentences
  • That is to say, we want to carve out a place for conversation, dialogue, dialectic, and debate.
  • Cloaked words can always be brought to the light of Truth by the subtle use of dialectics in debate.
  • The first of these preliminary considerations is related to some discussions within the art of dialectic whereas the second is theological in nature.
reasoning, argumentation, contention, logic;
discussion, debate, dialogue, logical argument
rare ratiocination
2Enquiry into metaphysical contradictions and their solutions.
Example sentences
  • Before the appendices he includes a jokey bit of philosophical dialectic.
  • The motivation for this negative dialectic is not simply conceptual, however, nor are its intellectual resources.
  • Hare, in fact, constantly creates a form of internal dialectic.
2.1The existence or action of opposing social forces, concepts, etc.
Example sentences
  • As a result of this dialectic, social policy must become more visibly coercive in providing new forms of control over the working class, in the context of a growing chasm between the reserve army and surplus population.
  • This is the spurious, evolving dialectic of electoral democracy.
  • The master-slave dialectic in which French existence has been caught was briefly ruptured only when the first postwar generation reached the age of majority in May 1968.

The ancient Greeks used the term dialectic to refer to various methods of reasoning and discussion in order to discover the truth. More recently, Kant applied the term to the criticism of the contradictions which arise from supposing knowledge of objects beyond the limits of experience, e.g. the soul. Hegel applied the term to the process of thought by which apparent contradictions (which he termed thesis and antithesis) are seen to be part of a higher truth (synthesis).


Relating to dialectic or dialectics; dialectical.
Example sentences
  • Because of these problems, there is a danger that the dialectic approach will seem unscientific and its strengths will be overlooked.
  • The dialectic narrative took the form of a collage, crafted with an uncommon conceptual and cinematographic rigour.
  • But the dialectic method of argument is undoubtedly a good one if used properly, as it is dynamic, progressive and evolutionary (as opposed to being static, reactionary and revolutionary).
rational, rationalistic, logical, analytical;
disputatious, dialectical, argumentative, contentious


Late Middle English: from Old French dialectique or Latin dialectica, from Greek dialektikē (tekhnē) '(art) of debate', from dialegesthai 'converse with' (see dialogue).

Words that rhyme with dialectic

apoplectic, catalectic, eclectic, hectic

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: dia|lect¦ic

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