Definition of polythetic in English:



  • Relating to or sharing a number of characteristics which occur commonly in members of a group or class, but none of which is essential for membership of that group or class.

    • ‘Once again, however, the phenetic structure is most likely polythetic.’
    • ‘The book of essays, he says, can be as diverse and polythetic and lacking in common themes as the individual.’
    • ‘Spickard claims that like musical performance for Schutz, ritual is a reordering of shared time: ‘Like music or poetry, prayer is a polythetic phenomenon.’’
    • ‘A polythetic agglomerative hierarchical cluster analysis was performed on the data with Sorensen's index as the distance measure, using PC-ORD Version 4.’


1960s: from poly- ‘many’ + Greek thetos ‘placed, arranged’ + -ic.