Definition of physical in English:

physical

adjective

  • 1Relating to the body as opposed to the mind.

    ‘a whole range of physical and mental challenges’
    • ‘The Short Form Health Survey was designed to measure perceived current physical health.’
    • ‘From birth, such an infant will reflexively grab and tightly grip whenever he perceives a physical threat.’
    • ‘Everyone, absolutely everyone, even the greatest ballerina, can recite a list of self-perceived physical deficits.’
    • ‘Even buying a pint of milk was turned into a mental and physical challenge.’
    • ‘First, small steps can be taken to help achieve a basic sense of physical safety.’
    • ‘The play ebbed and flowed from one end of the field to the other, with no regard for the physical limitations of the body nor that of the human mind.’
    • ‘Thus it will be seen that a sense of physical security and economic status can be far more influential than is generally recognised.’
    • ‘The healing takes places on an emotional level, a mental level, and on a body level, a physical level.’
    • ‘He enjoys the contrasts of mental and physical challenge.’
    • ‘When cycling enthusiast Katie Bamber booked a charity trip to Vietnam she was bracing herself for a tough mental and physical challenge.’
    • ‘Mental and physical exhaustion retards the growth of body and mind, and it often causes a psychosomatic illness.’
    • ‘A complicated strategy underlies the thrusts and parries of a duel - making it both a mental and physical challenge.’
    • ‘He was distracted from his blindness, he says, by the deluge of mental and physical challenges coming his way.’
    • ‘Surprisingly, he describes the climb as a mental, not physical, challenge.’
    • ‘There is a sense of physical smallness before these works, a kind of Alice in Wonderland-esque trip.’
    • ‘In recent years, researchers have shown that physical changes in the body can be accompanied by mental changes as well.’
    • ‘I got such a strange sense of what his physical presence would have been like.’
    • ‘Last night I really hurt someone, and I don't mean in the physical sense.’
    • ‘With the emergence of the first decent wind of the week, this was links golf at its best, challenging the mental and physical endurance of all concerned.’
    bodily, corporeal, corporal, fleshly, in the flesh
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    1. 1.1 Involving bodily contact or activity.
      ‘verbal or physical abuse’
      ‘football and other physical games’
      • ‘Sexual and physical assault is still a common problem seen day today in our hospitals.’
      • ‘One of the most common allegations relates to physical abuse and excessive corporal punishment.’
      • ‘We berate those who cross the line and leave the immature and underdeveloped open to the physical abuse of contact and collision sports.’
      • ‘By the way, those who say that diving is not a physical contact sport should take a look at Beachcomber's recent emails.’
      • ‘The alleged sexual and physical assault was inflicted on a young Latvian man at Station Road, Portarlington recently.’
      • ‘These guys are playing a physical contact game, they're all steamed up.’
      • ‘Rugby is a contact sport that involves physical collisions among its players.’
      • ‘Renner and Yurchesyn compared cases of physical assault, sexual assault and robbery in Nova Scotia.’
      • ‘One of the most obvious ways that a victim can avoid or escape physical abuse may be by contacting the police and leaving the home.’
      • ‘There are obvious abuses in this world: physical abuse, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse.’
      • ‘They are vulnerable to physical assault, sexual harassment, and rape, and their experiences and fears have tended not to be taken seriously.’
      • ‘Teachers will be asked to say whether they have faced situations ranging from mob intimidation, physical assault or sexual or racial harassment.’
      • ‘Abuse of a child can mean physical abuse, physical neglect, sexual abuse, or emotional abuse.’
      • ‘The cycle needs to be broken - youths need to know abuse is wrong before sexual and physical assaults stop.’
      • ‘Sexual and physical assaults in adulthood are also related to psychiatric disorders.’
      • ‘Many drop out of school and many are prey to sexual and physical abuse, neglect and substance abuse.’
      • ‘All physical contact sports carry an element of risk, and it is a risk that players are aware of and accept.’
      • ‘Sexual assault, like physical assault, is a frequent event experienced by street prostitutes.’
      • ‘Yes, there is the element of consent and the obvious foreknowledge that physical contact sports carry an inherent risk of injury.’
      • ‘This included 126 physical assaults, 62 sexual insults and threats and nine cases of racist abuse.’
      manual, labouring, blue-collar
      earthly, worldly, terrestrial, earthbound, non-spiritual, unspiritual, material
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  • 2Relating to things perceived through the senses as opposed to the mind; tangible or concrete.

    ‘pleasant physical environments’
    ‘physical assets such as houses or cars’
    • ‘The man and his sheep and, indeed, the paint and paper itself, provide the only physical sense of solidity.’
    • ‘I can't STAND, for example, to start out with a sense of the actual physical shape a poem is going to take.’
    • ‘For these are paintings in the traditional sense: unique physical objects which display the marks of craft and have a real presence.’
    • ‘Most businesses deal with the physical assets and the environment within, but have never looked at the people.’
    • ‘The media used to transport this information are, in a very real sense, the physical highways over which it travels.’
    • ‘We have a moral sense that we use to make moral observations, in the same way as we use our physical senses to make physical observations.’
    • ‘Moreover, the piece only refers to a concrete physical setting twice.’
    • ‘Common sense says that the physical environment has an impact on productivity.’
    • ‘These are tangible, physical assets and totally unlike the stock of a typical NYSE company.’
    • ‘It has a physical presence - a sense of weight - that computer generated effects lack.’
    • ‘My desire is to bring the viewer out of the gallery space and into the actual physical environment of the lakebed.’
    • ‘Another issue, in design writing at least, is that online writing is separated from a tangible physical object.’
    • ‘Most life forms on Earth consist of organic carbon, while inorganic carbon may dominate the visible physical environment.’
    • ‘A further ambiguity lies in our inability to determine if this availability is merely visual, or if it involves possession in a physical sense.’
    • ‘This type of allocation is a physical transfer of a tangible asset from the company to the investors.’
    • ‘What you are able to perceive of the physical world is actually very fragmentary.’
    • ‘The actual physical objects in the environment that we see make up the contents of our experience.’
    • ‘Like so many things, it's a combination of social reality with a tangible, physical reality.’
    • ‘When I say this, what I express is not my wish for a pure poetry, but a concrete, physical attitude.’
    • ‘The social tone and ethos of the school are both very positive as too is the overall quality of the actual physical working environment.’
    material, substantial, solid, concrete, tangible, palpable, visible, real, actual
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  • 3Relating to physics or the operation of natural forces generally.

    ‘physical laws’
    • ‘Today we understand most of these things in terms of physical forces acting under impersonal laws.’
    • ‘According to Bridgman, every physical concept is defined by the operations a physicist uses to apply it.’
    • ‘When we discuss phase changes to matter, physical forces create the changes.’
    • ‘Certainly, before Newton, the very idea of physical law was at best a blur.’
    • ‘Feynman's work is filled with the sort of raw physical insight that physicists love and admire.’

noun

  • A medical examination to determine a person's bodily fitness.

    • ‘He had been plagued by serious injuries, and the Texans didn't think he could pass a physical.’
    • ‘She loved going to the doctor's office and insisted on having a complete physical at every visit.’
    • ‘Patients of all ages came for medical care, physicals, immunizations and reassurance.’
    • ‘On the floor, someone had dropped a gown like the kind you wore for a physical.’
    • ‘The three-year deal for about US $9 million cannot be finalized until he passes a physical.’
    • ‘Instead of the usual physical involving an array of tests by specialists, the exams were conducted in two phases.’
    • ‘The nurse practitioners obtained patients' medical histories and did physical examinations preoperatively, ordered laboratory tests, and taught patients about what to expect.’
    • ‘Planning to treat yourself to a complete physical for the New Year?’
    • ‘Were you anxious or nervous about going to a doctor for a complete physical?’
    • ‘Just before school was to start, I received a notice from the Navy to report to Oakland Reserve Base for a physical.’
    • ‘Having a doctor conduct a thorough physical could prevent a tragedy.’
    • ‘History and physical with a complete neurologic exam are essential.’
    • ‘None of these programs provide primary HIV care, although medical staff at each conduct annual physical examinations, perform urinalysis and blood counts, and skin test for tuberculosis.’
    • ‘A healthy child from an area of high endemicity receives an annual physical.’
    • ‘This time it wouldn't be a full physical, but a good thorough scan should alert the physician to any illness.’
    • ‘Within one week of school start, I was ordered to report for a physical.’
    • ‘Recently, Shari had a physical which including ultrasonic testing of her abdomen to determine the cause of pain.’
    • ‘It would have been for naught, alas, as later in the day Wright passed a second physical done by Dr. Jim Andrews.’
    • ‘The 49ers have the option of voiding the trade because Whiting failed a physical.’
    • ‘He tried to join the Navy, but failed the physical.’

Phrases

  • get physical

    • 1informal Become aggressive or violent.

      • ‘Her father was getting physical, he ended up hitting Chris in the jaw with the back of his hand.’
      • ‘It got physical soon enough and I watched him beat my mother ruthlessly.’
      • ‘I am very lucky, because I am not the kind of person who gets physical.’
      • ‘Or maybe it was fortunate for Bryant that he's smart enough to let words fuel the fire and not get physical with Shaq.’
      • ‘In the first practice of their off-week, the Lions ran a spirited one-on-one passing drill with the cornerbacks getting physical at the line.’
      • ‘They even joked about what would happen if their competition got physical.’
      • ‘The newspaper followed up on the death of a black club patron who was suffocated by a white bouncer when a dispute over the club's dress code got physical.’
      • ‘It almost got physical between the two but old man Barnes was here and broke it up.’
      • ‘As good as their zone-blocking schemes and cutback style can be, when things get physical, they will usually lose.’
      • ‘They fought over the controller for a good 20 minutes until their mom's had to separate them because they were getting physical.’
      1. 1.1Become sexually intimate with someone.
        • ‘He met a girl and they got physical pretty quickly.’
        • ‘Women, on the other hand, live in a ‘emotion’ or ‘love’ house, whereas getting physical is a room they have to have a reason to get up, walk over to, and enter.’
        • ‘I was in a long-distance relationship for two years, and one thing we noticed was the amount of time it takes to get physical again after a period apart.’
        • ‘Will you be all right if she gets physical with someone else?’
        • ‘Though I'm not worried he'll get physical with her, I am uneasy.’
        • ‘We also got physical very much earlier in the relationship than I wanted to.’
        • ‘I think that's good, because it's such an intense world that we're creating, so finding the right moment for people to get physical is going to take time.’
        • ‘You were getting physical with Sam and he took off.’
        • ‘Was I just desperate to get physical with someone, it didn't matter who, because I hadn't in months?’
        • ‘For instance, Rhonda would say that even though she was getting physical with her trainer, their relationship was mainly about her need to lose pounds and inches off her figure.’

Origin

Late Middle English (in the sense ‘relating to medicine’): from medieval Latin physicalis, from Latin physica ‘things relating to nature’ (see physic). Sense 2 dates from the late 16th century and sense 1 from the late 18th century.

Pronunciation

physical

/ˈfizik(ə)l//ˈfɪzɪk(ə)l/