Cultural Watch

Get the Word of the Day – hypostatize


Hypostatize / hahy-pos-tuh-tahyz, hi- / verb


To treat or regard (a concept, idea, etc.) as a distinct substance or reality.


Long ago the philosophers warned us against hypostatizing verbal categories, such as the category of “government” or “the State.” When you hypostatize you endow a concept with a life that it does not actually possess. – John Chamberlain, “Some First Principles,” New York Times, August 4, 1946


The verb hypostatize is the later form, first recorded in 1829, of hypostasize , which was first used in 1809 by the English poet and literary critic, Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834). Both forms of the verb derive from the Greek noun hypóstasis“sediment (in urine), substance, nature, existence, reality.” The Greek elements hypo- and stásis translate literally into Latin as sub- and -stantia “substance,” which caused endless confusion and controversy among Christian theologians of the 4th and 5th centuries.

Source: Get the Word of the Day – hypostatize |