Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The mind before it receives the impressions gained from experience.
  • n. The unformed, featureless mind in the philosophy of John Locke.
  • n. A need or an opportunity to start from the beginning.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The idea that the mind comes into this world as a "blank slate".
  • n. Anything which exists in a pristine state.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. a smoothed tablet; hence, figuratively, the mind in its earliest state, before receiving impressions from without; -- a term used by Hobbes, Locke, and others, in maintaining a theory opposed to the doctrine of innate ideas.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a young mind not yet affected by experience (according to John Locke)
  • n. an opportunity to start over without prejudice

Etymologies

Medieval Latin tabula rāsa : Latin tabula, tablet + Latin rāsa, feminine of rāsus, erased.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin tabula ("tablet") + rāsa, feminine singular of rāsus ("scraped, erased"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

Sorry, no example sentences found.

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • I can no longer see this word without being reminded of Tambura Rasa, the excellent gypsy band from Vancity...even though the band name is gimicky and sort of lame

    October 27, 2009

  • Also, a need or an opportunity to start from the beginning.

    December 7, 2008

  • Tabula rasa (Latin: scraped tablet or clean slate) refers to the epistemological thesis that individual human beings are born with no innate or built-in mental content, in a word, "blank", and that their entire resource of knowledge is built up gradually from their experiences and sensory perceptions of the outside world.
    _Wikipedia

    January 25, 2008