Definition: Body

From New World Encyclopedia


From Middle English bodi, bodiȝ, from Old English bodiġ (body, trunk, chest, torso, height, stature), from Proto-West Germanic *bodag (body, trunk), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰewdʰ- (to be awake, observe). Cognate with Old High German botah (whence Swabian Bottich (body, torso)).


body (countable and uncountable, plural bodies)

  1. Physical frame.
    1. The physical structure of a human or animal seen as one single organism.
      I saw them walking from a distance, their bodies strangely angular in the dawn light.
    2. The fleshly or corporeal nature of a human, as opposed to the spirit or soul.
      The body is driven by desires, but the soul is at peace.
    3. A corpse.
      Her body was found at four o'clock, just two hours after the murder.
    4. (sociology) A human being, regarded as marginalized or oppressed.
  2. Main section.
    1. The torso, the main structure of a human or animal frame excluding the extremities (limbs, head, tail).
      The boxer took a blow to the body.
    2. The largest or most important part of anything, as distinct from its appendages or accessories.
      The bumpers and front tires were ruined, but the body of the car was in remarkable shape.
    3. The content of a letter, message, or other printed or electronic document, as distinct from signatures, salutations, headers, and so on.
      1. (programming) The code of a subroutine, contrasted to its signature and parameters.
        In many programming languages, the method body is enclosed in braces, but in Python it is indented.
      2. (architecture, of a church) nave.
  3. Coherent group.
    1. A group of people having a common purpose or opinion; a mass.
      I was escorted from the building by a body of armed security guards.
    2. An organization, company, or other authoritative group.
      The local train operating company is the managing body for this section of track.
    3. A unified collection of details, knowledge, or information.
      We have now amassed a body of evidence which points to one conclusion.
  4. Material entity.
    1. Any physical object or material thing.
      All bodies are held together by internal forces.
    2. (uncountable) Substance; physical presence.
      We have given body to what was just a vague idea.
    3. (uncountable) Comparative viscosity, solidity, or substance (in wine, colors etc.).
      1. An agglomeration of some substance, especially one that would be otherwise uncountable.
    The English Channel is a body of water lying between Great Britain and France.
  5. (printing) The shank of a type, or the depth of the shank (by which the size is indicated).
    A nonpareil face on an agate body.
  6. (geometry) A three-dimensional object, such as a cube or cone.

Derived terms

  • administrative body
  • advisory body
  • antibody
  • anybody
  • asteroid body
  • astral body
  • auto body
  • bodice
  • bodily
  • body armour
  • bodyboard
  • bodybuilder
  • bodybuilding
  • body cam
  • body camera
  • bodycare
  • body double
  • body English
  • body fat
  • body fossil
  • bodyguard
  • body heat
  • body image
  • body language
  • body lotion
  • body mass index
  • body of water
  • body of work
  • body part
  • body-positive
  • body positivity
  • body scan
  • body shaming
  • body shape
  • body shop
  • bodyswap
  • body temperature
  • body wash
  • body weight
  • bodywork
  • busybody
  • car body
  • celestial body
  • everybody
  • foreign body
  • heavenly body
  • homebody
  • legislative body
  • lower body
  • nobody
  • nuclear body
  • Peabody
  • somebody
  • student body
  • upper body
  • water body


body (third-person singular simple present bodies, present participle bodying, simple past and past participle bodied)

  1. (often with forth) To give body or shape to something.
  2. To construct the bodywork of a car.
  3. To embody; to represent in a physical or concrete form.


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