Meaning of hermeneutic in English:


Pronunciation /ˌhəːməˈnjuːtɪk/


  • Concerning interpretation, especially of the Bible or literary texts.

    ‘These are the key areas where the Chinese and Western concerns with hermeneutic openness converge.’
    • ‘The Conjure-Man Dies, generically and esoterically, presents demanding self-referential problems for the writer and the reader of such hermeneutic texts.’
    • ‘Gadamer's hermeneutic theory of text interpretation is called dialectical hermeneutics, which treats the interpretation of text as a dialogue or fusion of horizons between the interpreter and text.’
    • ‘History is not ontologically given but is linguistically and textually constructed, and it is therefore subject to the same textual and hermeneutic uncertainties as fiction.’
    • ‘Meese's stated hermeneutic principles are based in the text and in the historic record.’
    • ‘Understanding as involving a fusion of horizons requires the application of what is to be understood to the interpreter's hermeneutic situation.’
    • ‘The Chinese notion of literary openness thus grew out of a disjunction between hermeneutic theory and exegetical practice.’
    • ‘For Pynchon, the hieroglyph hints at, but ultimately frustrates, hermeneutic operations, leaving the interpreter faced with a social text whose key either has been irretrievably lost or never existed in the first place.’
    • ‘The path that, in answer to his prayer, God had instantly shown Augustine - the path leading from the garden to that verse - could only be seen with hermeneutic eyes.’
    • ‘Completing this hermeneutic circle, these articles, having taken their conception of the Irish American immigrant from dialect columns and books, contribute to a further castigation of the Irish American as stereotype.’
    • ‘But rather than modify those claims, he devotes a great deal of hermeneutic ingenuity to disguising their shortcomings, at times actively reconfiguring his sources to suit the case he defends.’
    • ‘For Gopin, this hermeneutic dimension of religion is crucial.’
    • ‘Consequently it considers healing as a hermeneutic process whose goal is to interpret that reality.’
    • ‘Naturalistic and hermeneutic approaches see the relationship of the subject and object of inquiry as forcing the social scientist to take either the third-person or first-person perspective.’
    • ‘More generally, the opening lines of the poem foreground the hermeneutic processes of reading and evaluation by which meaning will be constructed.’
    • ‘A close link between phenomenology and hermeneutics has resulted in the interchangeable use of the terms; however, philosophical beliefs differ among phenomenologists and hermeneutic philosophers.’
    • ‘I once called these points hermeneutic windows - partly to counter the idea of music as purely self-sufficient and self-reflective, a windowless monad - and the term seems to have had some currency.’
    • ‘The blinkered tendency to derive all-encompassing, universal answers has dumbed down semantic questions, eclipsed interpretative discussion and blinded scholarship to the ways in which context could cook up hermeneutic content.’
    • ‘The primacy of the practical is what links Aristotle, American pragmatism, Heidegger's hermeneutic phenomenology and environmental philosophy.’
    • ‘The middle sections include essays considering the hermeneutic significance, force, and limits of God-language.’
    explaining, descriptive, describing, illustrative, illuminative, elucidative, elucidatory, explicative, evaluative, interpretive, expository, revelatory, by way of explanation


  • A method or theory of interpretation.

    ‘Though we are accustomed to the idea that readers need to be governed by the right hermeneutic, in fact theory and method mean next to nothing in reading.’
    • ‘Because they were very inconsistent, they adopted a new hermeneutic.’
    • ‘Among the many achievements of the pontificate of John Paul II, some would say the most important achievement, was to secure the hermeneutic for the interpretation of that great council.’
    • ‘He establishes that Evangelical theology ‘lacks a unitary hermeneutic’ of Catholicism.’
    • ‘However insightful A. H. J. Gunneweg's thesis might be, it betrays the central difficulty of proposing a biblical hermeneutic that includes the subject matter of the Old Testament.’
    • ‘To take them seriously is to wrestle with their complexities, to bring to them both a hermeneutic of suspicion and a hermeneutic of trust.’
    • ‘Moreover, the social experiences of African Americans have provided the matrix for both the theological conception and the biblical hermeneutic.’
    • ‘Can we continue to argue for a collectivist hermeneutic when eliciting biblical theology?’
    • ‘Unfortunately, I will need to pass over much of Newman's history; for my purpose his hermeneutic is more important than his recapitulation of the Nicene controversy.’
    • ‘Conversely, to give any kind of credibility to his misinterpretation because it claims to be an interpretation is to go a long way toward validating the hermeneutic which Williams employs.’
    • ‘Johnson is committed to a hermeneutic in which Scripture, while read critically, is given free rein to address God's people with the force that it properly bears as God's word.’
    • ‘Let it be said, genuine Reformed interpretation has no affinity to the Barthian hermeneutic.’
    • ‘Lesslie Newbigin underscores this need passionately: ‘the only hermeneutic of the gospel is a congregation of men and women who believe it and live by it.’’
    • ‘Their hermeneutic for interpreting Genesis 1 to fit an old Earth cannot be consistently applied to arrive at a literal Adam and a literal Fall.’
    • ‘But what motivates these shifts, if not a particular hermeneutic, a particular point of view or collection of views that presents itself within the overall tradition about Manasseh and/or creation?’
    • ‘What the novel effects in regard to the Gothic, to parody, and to Catherine's readerly education is a hermeneutic of neither sameness nor difference, but one of ‘not unlike.’’
    • ‘His proposal seeks to move beyond the classic model of simple direct prediction while at the same time rejecting a skeptical hermeneutic that is blind to possible messianic references on the part of OT seers.’
    • ‘Second, I will show how Newman's foray into Monophysitism, still operating from the hermeneutic established in his work on Arianism, helped to pave the way for his conversion.’
    • ‘It is a hermeneutic which cannot operate in isolation from the community of reason, and this, I believe, marks an important point of departure from Calvin and the Puritan party in England.’
    • ‘Instead of finding an Aristotelean ‘middle,’ Hooker's hermeneutic stands in opposition to both the Puritan movement and the assumptions that eventually led to Western secularism.’


Late 17th century from Greek hermēneutikos, from hermēneuein ‘interpret’.