Meaning of hypostasis in English:


Pronunciation /hʌɪˈpɒstəsɪs/

nounplural noun hypostases/hʌɪˈpɒstəsiːz/

  • 1Medicine
    mass noun The accumulation of fluid or blood in the lower parts of the body or organs under the influence of gravity, as occurs in cases of poor circulation or after death.

  • 2Philosophy
    An underlying reality or substance, as opposed to attributes or to that which lacks substance.

    ‘And indeed by referring to those situations, Levinas wants to detect the specific features of an hypostasis opposed to all ek-stasis.’
    • ‘It is true that in popular fashion we can say of a commodity that ‘a lot of work has gone into it.’’
    • ‘The use of multiple voice-overs, often indistinguishable, replaces the hierarchy of hypostases with the equality of beings.’
    • ‘As an aesthetic criterion of evaluation, this requirement ties the success or failure of the object to a form of hypostasis.’
    • ‘Adequate doctrine must put essence and hypostasis on the same level of reality and importance.’
  • 3Theology
    (in Trinitarian doctrine) each of the three persons of the Trinity, as contrasted with the unity of the Godhead.

    ‘The essence of the Trinity is the self-revelation of the Father through the revealing hypostases of Word and Spirit.’
    • ‘If so, the consequence is that the hypostases, Father, Son and Spirit, do become inner relations.’
    • ‘For he is the image not of the will nor of anything else except the actual hypostasis of the Father.’
    • ‘The grace of God in the Logos is the means by which the human soul comes to a contemplation of the divine hypostases.’
    • ‘The mystical fathers of the church also teach of what can be called a fourth type of icon-the hypostasis of God, the image of His being.’
    1. 3.1The single person of Christ, as contrasted with his dual human and divine nature.
      ‘It is his divine hypostasis itself that thus shares in death, for it is the hypostasis of his human nature indissolubly united with the divine.’
      • ‘Their closeness to God is such that he could bind himself with this nature to a hypostasis and so himself give honor to this mortal flesh.’


Early 16th century (in theological use): via ecclesiastical Latin from Greek hupostasis ‘sediment’, later ‘essence, substance’, from hupo ‘under’ + stasis ‘standing’.