1540s, " of or pertaining to logical disputation, relating to the art of reasoning;" see dialectic + -al (1). From 1750 as "of or pertaining to a dialect." From 1788 as "of the nature of philosophical dialectic" (in reference to Kant, later to Hegel and Marx). Related: Dialectally. Dialectical materialism (by 1927) translates Marx's phrase.
updated on August 11, 2018