AskDefine | Define phenomenon

Dictionary Definition



1 any state or process known through the senses rather than by intuition or reasoning
2 a remarkable development [also: phenomena (pl)]

User Contributed Dictionary


Alternative spellings



From phænomenon, from (phainomenon) "thing appearing to view" < (phainō) "I show".


  1. The existential reality of "something"; not "nothing".
    The universe is a phenomenon, as is every particle of matter within it; that which is non-phenomenal does not exist because it is noumenon.
  2. An appearance or occurrence, usually one evoking curiosity.
  3. A fact or situation that is observed to exist or happen but is unexplainable or questionable.



the existential reality of "something"; not "nothing"
  • Hungarian: jelenség
an appearance or occurrence
  • Finnish: ilmiö
  • German: Phänomen
  • Hungarian: jelenség, tünemény, tünet
  • Japanese: 現象 (げんしょう, genshō)
  • Polish: fenomen, zjawisko
  • Portuguese: fenômeno
  • Swedish: fenomen
unexplainable or questionable fact or situation
  • Dutch: fenomeen
  • French: phénomène
  • German: Phänomen
  • Greek: φαινόμενο
  • Hungarian: fenomén
  • Japanese: 現象 (げんしょう, genshō)
  • Polish: fenomen , zjawisko
  • Portuguese: fenômeno
  • Spanish: fenómeno
  • Swedish: fenomen

Extensive Definition

A phenomenon (from Greek φαινόμενoν, pl. φαινόμενα - phenomena) is any occurrence that is observable. In popular usage, a phenomenon often refers to an extraordinary event.

Use in physics

In physics phenomena are the subject of observation. A phenomenon may be a feature of matter, energy, or spacetime. For example, Isaac Newton made observations of the phenomenon of the moon's orbit. Additionally, Galileo Galilei made observations of pendulum related phenomena.

Use in gemmology

In gemmology a phenomenon is an unusual optical effect displayed by a gem. Play-of-color, labradorescence, iridescence, adularescence, chatoyancy, asterism, aventurescence and color change are all phenomena.

Use in philosophy

In philosophy, the use of the word phenomenon differs from other uses in that it refers to perceived events. Phenomena may be perceived through a person's senses or with their mind.


phenomenon in Czech: Fenomén
phenomenon in Danish: Fænomen
phenomenon in German: Phänomen
phenomenon in Spanish: Fenómeno
phenomenon in Esperanto: Fenomeno
phenomenon in French: Phénomène
phenomenon in Croatian: Pojava
phenomenon in Ido: Fenomeno
phenomenon in Indonesian: Fenomena
phenomenon in Italian: Fenomeno
phenomenon in Dutch: Fenomeen
phenomenon in Japanese: 現象
phenomenon in Norwegian: Fenomen
phenomenon in Norwegian Nynorsk: Ovring
phenomenon in Polish: Zjawisko
phenomenon in Portuguese: Fenómeno
phenomenon in Romanian: Fenomen
phenomenon in Russian: Феномен
phenomenon in Albanian: Dukuria
phenomenon in Simple English: Phenomenon
phenomenon in Slovenian: Pojav
phenomenon in Finnish: Ilmiö
phenomenon in Swedish: Fenomen
phenomenon in Tamil: தோற்றப்பாடு
phenomenon in Turkish: Fenomen
phenomenon in Chinese: 現象

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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