Etymology
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physical (adj.)

early 15c., phisical, "medicinal" (opposed to surgical), from Medieval Latin physicalis "of nature, natural," from Latin physica "study of nature" (see physic).

The meaning "pertaining to matter, of or pertaining to what is perceived by the senses" is from 1590s; the meaning "having to do with the body, corporeal, pertaining to the material part or structure of an organized being" (as opposed to mental or moral) is attested from 1780. The sense of "characterized by bodily attributes or activities, being or inclined to be bodily aggressive or violent" is attested from 1970. Physical education is recorded by 1838; the abbreviated form phys ed is by 1955. Physical therapy is from 1922. Related: Physically.

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phenomenon (n.)

1570s, "a fact directly observed, a thing that appears or is perceived, an occurrence," especially a regular kind of fact observed on certain kinds of occasions, from Late Latin phænomenon, from Greek phainomenon "that which appears or is seen," noun use of neuter present participle of phainesthai "to appear," passive of phainein "bring to light, cause to appear, show" (from PIE root *bha- (1) "to shine"). Meaning "extraordinary occurrence" is recorded by 1771. In philosophy, "an appearance or immediate object of experience" (1788). The plural is phenomena.

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physical (n.)

short for physical examination, by 1934, from physical (adj.).

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phenom (n.)

shortened form of phenomenon, U.S. baseball slang, attested by 1890.

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epiphenomenon (n.)
"secondary symptom," 1706, from epi- + phenomenon. Plural is epiphenomena. Related: Epiphenomenal.
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phenomena (n.)
classical plural of phenomenon (see -a (2)). Sometimes also erroneously used as a singular.
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promnesia (n.)

scientific name for the phenomenon of déjà vu, 1895, Modern Latin, from Greek pro "before" (see pro-) + -mnēsia "memory" (see amnesia).

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psi (n.)

23rd letter of the Greek alphabet. Its use for "psychic force, paranormal phenomenon" dates from 1942 (probably from psychic (adj.)).

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phenomenal (adj.)

1803, "pertaining to or of the nature of a phenomenon," a hybrid from phenomenon + -al (1). Meaning "remarkable, exceptional, exciting wonder" is by 1850.

[Phenomenal] is a metaphysical term with a use of its own. To divert it from this proper use to a job for which it is not needed, by making it do duty for remarkable, extraordinary, or prodigious, is a sin against the English language. [Fowler]

Related: Phenomenally.

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psychography (n.)

1883, "history of an individual soul; the natural history of the phenomenon of mind," from psycho- + -graphy. Earlier it meant "spirit-writing by the hand of a medium" (1863).

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