Meaning of tabula rasa in English:

tabula rasa

Pronunciation /ˌtabjʊlə ˈrɑːzə/

nounplural noun tabulae rasae/ˌtabjʊliː ˈrɑːziː/

  • 1An absence of preconceived ideas or predetermined goals; a clean slate.

    • ‘the team did not have complete freedom and a tabula rasa from which to work’
    1. 1.1The human mind, especially at birth, viewed as having no innate ideas.
      ‘So, for Locke, the human mind was a tabula rasa, a blank slate upon which experience records itself as human knowledge.’
      • ‘Locke believed that we are born without innate knowledge, with an empty mind, a tabula rasa.’
      • ‘They championed the opposing view that the developing human brain is a tabula rasa.’
      • ‘The mind was a tabula rasa, asserted the British writer John Locke, a clean slate awaiting the imprint of sensory data.’
      • ‘They are all products of the false belief that we are born with empty minds, a tabula rasa.’
      • ‘The theory of tabula rasa that the mind is a blank tablet at birth, upon which all our experiences are then inscribed to make the story of our lives has been the subject of debate for centuries.’
      • ‘But generally there is no contact prior the aggressive display… the victim is a tabula rasa.’
      • ‘It was then, in the middle of the nineteenth century, that John Locke's tabula rasa, by then available for almost two centuries and well known to some, found a wide audience to instruct in the fundamentals of childhood.’
      • ‘In Marshall's novel the description of Avey's mind and body as a tabula rasa upon which a new history can be written clearly perpetuates the idea of the body as a site of unconstructed materiality upon which culture inscribes itself.’
      • ‘He is immediately answered by the female spectator who is obviously up-to-date with recent critical developments and the Lockean notion of tabula rasa.’
      • ‘If not exactly a tabula rasa, I am comparatively ignorant of current scientific knowledge and epistemology.’
      • ‘Between the utopian thinkers of the early 19th century and the modernist believers in the tabula rasa came an interlude dominated by those who thought piecemeal solutions possible.’
      • ‘If we presume that really young children are somehow just a tabula rasa, a blank slate that we can write on and form in our own image, then we're greatly misguided.’
      • ‘Man is born a tabula rasa; he must learn and learn how to choose the ends that are proper for him, and the means which he must adopt to attain them.’
      • ‘While we are all born with a certain genetic make-up, ultimately we are a society of learners, meaning that we are born tabula rasa and develop habits through imitation.’
      • ‘This objection notwithstanding, we seem to be somewhat intellectually path dependent, and not at all tabula rasa, at least not by the age of consent.’
      • ‘Brains do not evolve and then function as a sort of tabula rasa, molded and formed by culture.’


Latin, literally ‘scraped tablet’, denoting a tablet with the writing erased.