Definition of transcendental in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌtransɛnˈdɛnt(ə)l/


1Relating to a spiritual realm: the transcendental importance of each person’s soul
More example sentences
  • The spiritual in man may soar in the highest transcendental realms, but man's body is essentially that of an animal.
  • Hindus readily accept as reality transcendental realms of Gods and devas and higher modes of consciousness than that in which we commonly live.
  • Isaac's prayer is symbolic of the transcendental spiritual beauty of Judaism.
1.1Relating to or denoting Transcendentalism.
Example sentences
  • Kant's assertion that transcendental idealism entails empirical realism is difficult to interpret.
  • On the other hand, transcendental empiricism has epistemological implications insofar as knowledge too must be formed in a process of individuation.
  • How should we assess Husserl's transcendental phenomenology?
2(In Kantian philosophy) presupposed in and necessary to experience; a priori.
Example sentences
  • Echoes of the subsequent post-Hegelian criticisms of Kantian transcendental philosophy are found in the early work of Horkheimer and Marcuse.
  • Husserl sees his own transcendental phenomenology as the true heir to Kant's transcendental philosophy.
  • Eze evidently thinks it very important to emphasize that Kant appealed to his transcendental philosophy and his theory of the a priori to formulate his racial theory.
3 Mathematics (Of a number, e.g. e or π) real but not a root of an algebraic equation with rational coefficients.
Example sentences
  • Liouville had introduced such numbers as examples of transcendental numbers - real numbers that are not roots of polynomial equations with integer coefficients.
  • Mathematicians had regarded algebraic numbers as, in some sense, simpler than transcendental numbers.
  • The very names negative numbers, irrational numbers, transcendental numbers, imaginary numbers, and ideal points at infinity indicate ambivalence.
3.1(Of a function) not capable of being produced by the algebraical operations of addition, multiplication, and involution, or the inverse operations.
Example sentences
  • If fifth-degree polynomials are so hard, what can one do with transcendental functions of a complex variable?
  • It was decided to concentrate on a three-volume work on the Higher transcendental functions, to be followed by two volumes of tables of integrals.
  • I have just finished an extensive treatise on a certain class of transcendental functions to present it to the Institute which will be done next Monday.



(also transcendentalise) verb
Example sentences
  • Why transcendentalize the arbitrary confections dreamt up by a particular animal's socio-biotic coding?
  • That immediately transcendentalizes them in two ways.
  • He is also opposed to any move to transcendentalize trauma, thereby neutralizing the moral differences between victims and perpetrators (since everyone is always already traumatized).


Example sentences
  • In short, what it was like to be transcendentally fatalist in a time when conventional, run-of-the-mill fatalism wasn't enough.
  • I remained almost transcendentally calm, Christ-like in my turning of the other cheek and Gandhi-like in my restraint from smacking him in the mouth.
  • How can your current beliefs be so transcendentally correct if you yourself recently believed something very different?


Early 17th century: from medieval Latin transcendentalis (see transcendent).

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Line breaks: tran¦scen|den¦tal

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