Definition of nomothetic in US English:



  • Relating to the study or discovery of general scientific laws.

    Often contrasted with idiographic
    • ‘The clinical ramifications of this entire exercise should be placed within a context that includes both nomothetic and ideographic dimensions.’
    • ‘Existentialism, in its broadest terms, is both idiographic and nomothetic - it is about personal will and humanity.’
    • ‘When combined with data from records and interviews, nomothetic information from sound psychological tests increases the chances of convergent validity and decreases the possibility of error.’
    • ‘To achieve scientific, nomothetic goals in the information disciplines, we should focus on the technological, demographic, environmental and economic conditions that motivate and constrain people operating in social groups.’
    • ‘Hence, given that historians make such claims ‘it behooves them to make sure that the cited nomothetic principles have an empirical foundation’.’


Mid 17th century: from obsolete nomothete ‘legislator’ (from Greek nomothetēs) + -ic.