Definition of phenomenon in US English:

phenomenon

nounPlural phenomena

  • 1A fact or situation that is observed to exist or happen, especially one whose cause or explanation is in question.

    ‘glaciers are unique and interesting natural phenomena’
    • ‘They want science to be redefined to include non-natural or supernatural explanations for natural phenomena.’
    • ‘He said the fog reported by the farmers was a natural phenomenon and not connected with the power plant.’
    • ‘The superstition of religion originated in man's inability to explain natural phenomena.’
    • ‘Phenology is the study of recurring natural phenomena, especially in relation to climate.’
    • ‘It is assumed that normal science is sufficient for the explanation of all natural phenomena.’
    • ‘Although such reports are often discounted as meteor showers or astronomical phenomena, other sightings are not so easy to dismiss.’
    • ‘It was an unquestioned assumption in all of my science classes that nothing exists except natural phenomena.’
    • ‘The objects of science are materializable concepts, not natural phenomena.’
    • ‘Science is itself an ideology, one that properly restricts its own sphere of influence to observing and explaining physical phenomena.’
    • ‘It was left to Newton to provide the mathematical explanation of the phenomena that they observed.’
    • ‘A theory is more than a definition; it is a framework that supplies an orderly explanation of observed phenomena.’
    • ‘The observed maturation phenomena are generally not observed in dedifferentiated HCC.’
    • ‘These policies have left us badly exposed and at the mercy of natural phenomena like drought.’
    • ‘Scientific laws are the means, the logical tool that helps interpret facts, phenomena and processes.’
    • ‘Natural philosophy then consisted of causal explanation of observed phenomena in nature within such a logical and schematic programme.’
    • ‘Experts routinely have to reassess the damage done by natural phenomena such as earthquakes or hurricanes.’
    • ‘Lightning is one of the most fascinating yet beautiful natural weather phenomena that we see here on Earth.’
    • ‘On the other hand, he acknowledges psychokinesis as a likely explanation for poltergeist phenomena.’
    • ‘I might add that sometimes explanations of physical phenomena involve mathematical facts.’
    • ‘The major global geophysical catastrophes that await us down the line are in fact just run-of-the-mill natural phenomena writ large.’
    occurrence, event, happening, fact, situation, circumstance, experience, case, incident, episode, sight, appearance, thing
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  • 2A remarkable person, thing, or event.

    • ‘According to the morass of statistics, crime is a remarkably flexible phenomenon across England and Wales.’
    • ‘Cigar box handbags, made from original wooden cigar boxes, are not a new fashion phenomenon.’
    • ‘What was expected to be a success at best has become a pop cultural phenomenon for people of all ages and backgrounds.’
    • ‘You see, the collapse of respect for politics is a remarkably recent phenomenon.’
    • ‘The Jansenist Nouvelles was one of the most remarkable publishing phenomena of the eighteenth century.’
    • ‘What requires explanation is not the phenomenon of cooperation but that of a State.’
    • ‘Any examination of Yali's question must address the phenomena of the Fertile Crescent.’
    • ‘Perhaps the remarkable phenomenon is that anything like the old nationalism echoed at all.’
    • ‘A definition of terrorism does exist, and the phenomenon also amounts to a customary international law crime.’
    • ‘Hip-hop has long been one of the most fashion-conscious cultural phenomena in America.’
    • ‘As he nears the end of his remarkable career, Warne is a phenomenon waiting to be cast in gold for posterity.’
    • ‘Heavy metal, as opposed to hard rock, was a quintessentially British phenomenon.’
    • ‘The exhibition pays tribute to Godzilla as cultural phenomenon rather than mere pop icon.’
    • ‘Recent centuries have produced explanation after explanation for the phenomenon labelled God.’
    • ‘The basic objective of the study was to focus on clothing and to project fashion as a social phenomenon.’
    • ‘You may also recall a while back my talking about the hilarity provided by the Pop Idol phenomenon.’
    • ‘One of the most remarkable economic phenomena over the past few years has been the emergence of Internet business.’
    • ‘Of course all this fuss is nothing compared to the phenomenon of Pop Idol.’
    • ‘On top of this situation you add the phenomenon of uncontrolled violence.’
    marvel, sensation, wonder, prodigy, miracle, rarity, nonpareil, curiosity, spectacle
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  • 3Philosophy
    The object of a person's perception; what the senses or the mind notice.

    • ‘No empirical phenomena seem to demand a notion of backward causation for our understanding of them.’
    • ‘Some forms of materialism argue that the mental phenomena in question do not even exist.’
    • ‘For Kant, the proper explanation of natural phenomena is in terms of laws which state patterns according to which events occur.’
    • ‘Kant also says that the categories can be applied to phenomena, but not to noumena.’
    • ‘According to Bohr, the only real properties of natural phenomena are observed phenomena.’

Usage

The word phenomenon comes from Greek, and its plural form is phenomena, as in these phenomena are not fully understood. It is a mistake to treat phenomena as if it were a singular form, as in this is a strange phenomena

Origin

Late 16th century: via late Latin from Greek phainomenon ‘thing appearing to view’, based on phainein ‘to show’.

Pronunciation