Definition of peripatetic in English:



  • 1Travelling from place to place, in particular working or based in various places for relatively short periods.

    ‘the peripatetic nature of military life’
    • ‘Perhaps by offering a peripatetic clinic in a unofficial capacity I am allowing people to use me as a sounding board for their health concerns which I can listen to and direct them back to their own GP if appropriate.’
    • ‘The consultants are a peripatetic lot, following the work, but sooner or later they end up in Washington.’
    • ‘Prior to the building of the Theatre and its successors, professional acting in Britain was a largely peripatetic activity.’
    • ‘A monastic house, with a fixed centre, needed regular supplies of foodstuffs, but other great landlords, who were more peripatetic, would probably be more interested in money.’
    • ‘For the same reason, the peripatetic bookstall would concentrate on school and college campuses.’
    • ‘An employee was employed by the employers, the second defendant, as a peripatetic lagger to install insulation at power stations.’
    • ‘The peripatetic court lay at the heart of early Tudor government.’
    • ‘Europe was a society of restless and rootless people, many repeatedly forced to move to try to escape the ravages of the Plague, others regularly conscripted for far-off wars, some in constant motion like the peripatetic court of Spain.’
    • ‘I have no respect for teachers, lecturers or peripatetic drifters.’
    • ‘The problem of educating the peripatetic children who lived on the canal boats was formidable.’
    • ‘This peripatetic body, founded in 1831, with an open membership, has been very important in promoting public awareness of science.’
    • ‘Perhaps the royal colleges should appoint peripatetic experts who would travel around the country.’
    • ‘As the child of a British Army officer, Jenny's childhood was peripatetic and the countries in which she grew up included Germany, Singapore and Cyprus.’
    • ‘The Buddha and his monks were peripatetic for much of the year, but gathered together in separate monasteries for the four months of the rainy season retreat, during the North Indian monsoon.’
    • ‘The peripatetic household continued to gravitate towards the cities and towns of a ruler's domains, an urban environment providing the necessary infrastructures for court life.’
    • ‘To these votaries, he is variously the perennial storyteller, the kindly sage, the gentle teacher, the maker of auspicious symbols, and the peripatetic gardener of images.’
    • ‘Hospitals without adequate capacity in stroke units may offer a peripatetic service to patients who are not admitted to the stroke unit, whereby the unit staff regularly advises on general wards.’
    • ‘And he has a dog - a large and very unpoodle-ish poodle - a sign that the peripatetic lifestyle of yore has slowed down considerably.’
    • ‘A peripatetic monarch - the entry of 1660 ended a year-long progress through the southern provinces - would henceforth confine his journeyings largely to the Île-de-France.’
    • ‘The city was closely identified with Emperor Maximilian I, even though his peripatetic court spent more time in Augsburg, Vienna, and Linz.’
    nomadic, itinerant, travelling, wandering, roving, roaming, migrant, migratory, ambulatory, unsettled, vagabond, vagrant
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    1. 1.1 (of a teacher) working in more than one school or college.
      ‘a peripatetic music teacher’
      • ‘Before establishing the poetry workshop Liz worked - in the late 1970s and 80s - as a peripatetic teacher of the deaf.’
      • ‘A peripatetic teacher was employed and anonymous, written questions welcomed and placed in a sealed box for discussion the following week.’
      • ‘She said the main cuts would come from the authority's central education budget, which funds a wide range of services from special needs, peripatetic music teaching and adult education to school crossing patrols.’
      • ‘At the beginning of every new school year a sigh of relief goes up from those peripatetic instrumental teachers who still find themselves in a job.’
      • ‘Resources would be split between special school sites and peripatetic support that could be taken into mainstream schools.’
      • ‘Many teachers became peripatetic, changing schools in a search for bigger income, while others were sacked for failing to satisfy the manager with the size of the grant.’
      • ‘One day he awoke from his reverie and cleared his throat, as if to warn me that a rare insight into the strange mind of the peripatetic music teacher was imminent.’
      • ‘First on the scene was a peripatetic music teacher who had also seen the whole thing.’
      • ‘That he was a brilliant linguist and peripatetic Bible teacher on many continents is undeniable.’
      • ‘The motion demands that peripatetic music instructors retain the contracts and status of teachers.’
      • ‘The school's Music Week also featured performances by peripatetic music teachers on violin, guitar, woodwind, brass and keyboard.’
      freelance, independent, one's own boss, working for oneself, casual
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  • 2Aristotelian.

    • ‘The work of Peripatetic philosophers continued elsewhere, but it is unclear whether they returned to the Lyceum.’
    • ‘He founded the early Peripatetic school, combining Aristotelian and Neoplatonic elements and attempting to harmonize faith and reason.’
    • ‘His intention was to defend the Cartesian doctrine of material substance against the Peripatetic doctrine of substantial forms in his explication of transubstantiation.’
    • ‘Introductions (attributed to Aristophanes) to some plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, based on the Didascaliae (lists of dramatic productions) of Aristotle and on Peripatetic research, are extant in an abbreviated form.’
    • ‘His defense of the Categories relied and expanded on the Peripatetic tradition.’


  • 1A person who travels from place to place, especially a teacher who works in more than one school or college.

    ‘peripatetics have been cut under local management of schools’
    • ‘In spite of these cataclysms, being a peripatetic of fortune had not diminished his craving for knowledge and science.’
  • 2An Aristotelian philosopher.

    • ‘He held this view against that of the Peripatetics who believed that there must be an internal principle of thought in beasts because of the intricacy and apparent human-like intelligence of their movements.’
    • ‘A return to the views of the founder first appears among the later Peripatetics, who did good service as expositors of Aristotle's works.’
    • ‘By these three virtues we ascend to philosophize in that celestial Athens where Stoics and Peripatetics and Epicureans, by the light of eternal truth, join ranks in a single harmonious will.’
    • ‘For doctrines in these areas, he turns to the Stoics and Peripatetics.’
    • ‘This powerful and consistent materialism, somewhat modified from its original form by Epicurus, persisted as the chief competitor to the teleological natural philosophies of the Peripatetics, Stoics and Platonists.’


Late Middle English (denoting an Aristotelian philosopher): from Old French peripatetique, via Latin from Greek peripatētikos ‘walking up and down’, from the verb peripatein.