Definition of physical adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈfɪzɪkl//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈfɪzɪkl//
    Describing work
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    the body
  1. 1  [usually before noun] connected with a person’s body rather than their mind physical fitness physical appearance The ordeal has affected both her mental and physical health. He tends to avoid all physical contact. The centre offers activities for everyone, whatever your age or physical condition. CollocationsPhysical appearance A person may be described as having:Eyes (bright) blue/​green/(dark/​light) brown/​hazel eyes deep-set/​sunken/​bulging/​protruding eyes small/​beady/​sparkling/​twinkling/(informal) shifty eyes piercing/​penetrating/​steely eyes bloodshot/​watery/​puffy eyes bushy/​thick/​dark/​raised/​arched eyebrows long/​dark/​thick/​curly/​false eyelashes/​lashesFace a flat/​bulbous/​pointed/​sharp/​snub nose a straight/​a hooked/​a Roman/(formal) an aquiline nose full/​thick/​thin/​pouty lips dry/​chapped/​cracked lips flushed/​rosy/​red/​ruddy/​pale cheeks soft/​chubby/​sunken cheeks white/​perfect/​crooked/​protruding teeth a large/​high/​broad/​wide/​sloping forehead a strong/​weak/​pointed/​double chin a long/​full/​bushy/​wispy/​goatee beard a long/​thin/​bushy/​droopy/​handlebar/​pencil moustache/ (especially US English) mustacheHair and skin pale/​fair/​olive/​dark/​tanned skin dry/​oily/​smooth/​rough/​leathery/​wrinkled skin a dark/​pale/​light/​sallow/​ruddy/​olive/​swarthy/​clear complexion deep/​fine/​little/​facial wrinkles blonde/​blond/​fair/(light/​dark) brown/(jet-)black/​auburn/​red/(British English) ginger/​grey hair straight/​curly/​wavy/​frizzy/​spiky hair thick/​thin/​fine/​bushy/​thinning hair dyed/​bleached/​soft/​silky/​dry/​greasy/​shiny hair long/​short/​shoulder-length/​cropped hair a bald/​balding/​shaved head a receding hairline a bald patch/​spot a side/​centre/(US English) center (British English) parting/ (North American English) partBody a long/​short/​thick/​slender/(disapproving) scrawny neck broad/​narrow/​sloping/​rounded/​hunched shoulders a bare/​broad/​muscular/​small/​large chest a flat/​swollen/​bulging stomach a small/​tiny/​narrow/​slim/​slender/28-inch waist big/​wide/​narrow/​slim hips a straight/​bent/​arched/​broad/​hairy back thin/​slender/​muscular arms big/​large/​small/​manicured/​calloused/​gloved hands long/​short/​fat/​slender/​delicate/​bony fingers long/​muscular/​hairy/​shapely/(both informal, often disapproving) skinny/​spindly legs muscular/​chubby/(informal, disapproving) flabby thighs big/​little/​small/​dainty/​wide/​narrow/​bare feet a good/​a slim/​a slender/​an hourglass figure be of slim/​medium/​average/​large/​athletic/​stocky build See related entries: Describing work
  2. real things
  3. 2  [only before noun] connected with things that actually exist or are present and can be seen, felt, etc. rather than things that only exist in a person’s mind the physical world/universe/environment the physical properties (= the colour, weight, shape, etc.) of copper She was intimidated by his physical presence. Is there any physical evidence to suggest that a crime has been committed?
  4. nature/science
  5. 3  [only before noun] according to the laws of nature It is a physical impossibility to be in two places at once. There does not seem to be any physical explanation for what they saw.
  6. 4  [only before noun] connected with the scientific study of forces such as heat, light, sound, etc. and how they affect objects physical laws
  7. sex
  8. 5  involving sex physical love They are having a physical relationship. The attraction between them is purely physical.
  9. person
  10. 6(informal) (of a person) liking to touch other people a lot She's not very physical.
  11. violent
  12. 7(informal) violent (used to avoid saying this in a direct way) Are you going to cooperate or do we have to get physical?
  13. Word Originlate Middle English (in the sense ‘relating to medicine’): from medieval Latin physicalis, from Latin physica ‘things relating to nature’, from Greek phusikē (epistēmē) ‘(knowledge) of nature’. Sense 2 dates from the late 16th cent. and sense 1 from the late 18th cent.Extra examples Our relationship was purely physical. The problem is purely physical, not mental. The shock of the darkness was almost physical.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: physical