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1922, from German Gestaltqualität (1890, introduced by German philosopher Christian von Ehrenfels, 1859-1932), from German gestalt "shape, form, figure, configuration, appearance," abstracted from ungestalt "deformity," noun use of adj. ungestalt "misshapen," from gestalt, obsolete past participle of stellen "to place, arrange" (see stall (n.1)). As a school of psychology, it was founded c.1912 by M Wertheimer, K. Koffka, W. Köhler.
gestalt ge·stalt or Ge·stalt (gə-shtält', -shtôlt', -stält', -stôlt')
n. pl. ge·stalts or ge·stalt·en (-shtält'n, -shtôlt'n, -stält'n, -stôlt'n)
A physical, biological, psychological, or symbolic configuration or pattern of elements so unified as a whole that its properties cannot be derived from a simple summation of its parts. Also called gestalt phenomenon.