1590s, as a term in logic, "unqualified, asserting absolutely," from Late Latin categoricus, from Greek katēgorikos "accusatory, affirmative, categorical," from kategoria (see category). The general sense of "explicit, unconditional" is attested from 1610s. Categorical imperative, from the philosophy of Kant, is in English by 1827. Related: Categorically.
updated on November 13, 2022
Dictionary entries near categorical