Definition of hypostasis in English:



  • 1Medicine
    [mass noun] The accumulation of fluid or blood in the lower parts of the body or organs under the influence of gravity, as occurs in cases of poor circulation or after death.

  • 2Philosophy
    An underlying reality or substance, as opposed to attributes or to that which lacks substance.

    • ‘It is true that in popular fashion we can say of a commodity that ‘a lot of work has gone into it.’’
    • ‘The use of multiple voice-overs, often indistinguishable, replaces the hierarchy of hypostases with the equality of beings.’
    • ‘As an aesthetic criterion of evaluation, this requirement ties the success or failure of the object to a form of hypostasis.’
    • ‘And indeed by referring to those situations, Levinas wants to detect the specific features of an hypostasis opposed to all ek-stasis.’
    • ‘Adequate doctrine must put essence and hypostasis on the same level of reality and importance.’
  • 3Theology
    (in Trinitarian doctrine) each of the three persons of the Trinity, as contrasted with the unity of the Godhead.

    • ‘The essence of the Trinity is the self-revelation of the Father through the revealing hypostases of Word and Spirit.’
    • ‘The grace of God in the Logos is the means by which the human soul comes to a contemplation of the divine hypostases.’
    • ‘For he is the image not of the will nor of anything else except the actual hypostasis of the Father.’
    • ‘If so, the consequence is that the hypostases, Father, Son and Spirit, do become inner relations.’
    • ‘The mystical fathers of the church also teach of what can be called a fourth type of icon-the hypostasis of God, the image of His being.’
    1. 3.1[in singular] The single person of Christ, as contrasted with his dual human and divine nature.
      • ‘Their closeness to God is such that he could bind himself with this nature to a hypostasis and so himself give honor to this mortal flesh.’
      • ‘It is his divine hypostasis itself that thus shares in death, for it is the hypostasis of his human nature indissolubly united with the divine.’


Early 16th century (in theological use): via ecclesiastical Latin from Greek hupostasis sediment, later essence, substance, from hupo under + stasis standing.