Try Our Apps


Fall Head Over Heels...


[dih-tur-muh-niz-uh m] /dɪˈtɜr məˌnɪz əm/
the doctrine that all facts and events exemplify natural laws.
the doctrine that all events, including human choices and decisions, have sufficient causes.
Origin of determinism
1840-50; determine + -ism
Related forms
determinist, noun, adjective
deterministic, adjective
deterministically, adverb
nondeterminist, noun, adjective
nondeterministic, adjective
semideterministic, adjective
Can be confused
determinism, fatalism, necessitarianism. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for deterministic
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
British Dictionary definitions for deterministic


Also called necessitarianism. the philosophical doctrine that all events including human actions and choices are fully determined by preceding events and states of affairs, and so that freedom of choice is illusory Compare free will (sense 1b)
the scientific doctrine that all occurrences in nature take place in accordance with natural laws
the principle in classical mechanics that the values of dynamic variables of a system and of the forces acting on the system at a given time, completely determine the values of the variables at any later time
Derived Forms
determinist, noun, adjective
deterministic, adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for deterministic

1874, from determinist (see determinism) + -ic.



1846, in theology (lack of free will); 1876 in general sense of "doctrine that everything happens by a necessary causation," from French déterminisme, from German Determinismus, perhaps a back-formation from Praedeterminismus (see determine).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
deterministic in Medicine

determinism de·ter·min·ism (dĭ-tûr'mə-nĭz'əm)
The philosophical doctrine that every event, act, and decision is the inevitable consequence of antecedents, such as genetic and environmental influences, that are independent of the human will.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
deterministic in Culture

determinism definition

In ethics, the view that human actions are entirely controlled by previous conditions, operating under laws of nature. Determinism is often understood as ruling out free will.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
deterministic in Technology

1. Describes a system whose time evolution can be predicted exactly.
Contrast probabilistic.
2. Describes an algorithm in which the correct next step depends only on the current state. This contrasts with an algorithm involving backtracking where at each point there may be several possible actions and no way to chose between them except by trying each one and backtracking if it fails.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for determinism

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for deterministic

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for deterministic