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.

physical (n.)

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

updated on May 30, 2020

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Definitions of physical from WordNet

physical (adj.)
involving the body as distinguished from the mind or spirit;
was sloppy about everything but her physical appearance
physical exercise
physical suffering
physical (adj.)
relating to the sciences dealing with matter and energy; especially physics;
physical sciences
physical laws
physical (adj.)
having substance or material existence; perceptible to the senses;
a physical manifestation
physical (adj.)
according with material things or natural laws (other than those peculiar to living matter);
a reflex response to physical stimuli
physical (adj.)
characterized by energetic bodily activity;
a very physical dance performance
physical (adj.)
impelled by physical force especially against resistance;
a real cop would get physical
Synonyms: forcible / strong-arm
physical (adj.)
concerned with material things;
the physical size of a computer
physical properties
the physical characteristics of the earth
Etymologies are not definitions. From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.