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

  • n. Philosophy The substance, essence, or underlying reality.
  • n. Christianity Any of the persons of the Trinity.
  • n. Christianity The essential person of Jesus in which his human and divine natures are united.
  • n. Something that has been hypostatized.
  • n. A settling of solid particles in a fluid.
  • n. Something that settles to the bottom of a fluid; sediment.
  • n. Medicine The settling of blood in the lower part of an organ or the body as a result of decreased blood flow.
  • n. Genetics A condition in which the action of one gene conceals or suppresses the action of another gene that is not its allele but that affects the same part or biochemical process in an organism.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. That which forms the basis of anything; underlying principle; a concept or mental entity conceived or treated as an existing being or thing.
  • n. Substance; subsistence; essence; person; personality; -- used by the early theologians to denote any one of the three subdivisions of the Godhead, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
  • n. Principle; an element; -- used by the alchemists in speaking of salt, sulphur, and mercury, which they considered as the three principles of all material bodies.
  • n. That which is deposited at the bottom of a fluid; sediment.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. That which underlies something else; that which forms the basis of something; foundation; support.
  • n. In theology, a person of the Trinity; one of the three real and distinct subsistences in the one undivided substance or essence of God.
  • n. In metaphysics, a substantial mode by which the existence of a substantial nature is determined to subsist by itself and be in communicable; subsistence.
  • n. A hypothetical substance; a phenomenon or state of things spoken and thought of as if it were a substance.
  • n. Principle: a term applied by the alchemists to mercury, sulphur, and salt, in accordance with their” doctrine that these were the three principles of all material bodies.
  • n. In medicine: A sediment, as of the urine; any morbid deposition in the body.
  • n. An overfullness of blood-vessels caused by a dependent position, as of the veins of the legs (varicose veins), etc.; hypostatic congestion. Also hypostasy.

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

  • n. the suppression of a gene by the effect of an unrelated gene
  • n. the accumulation of blood in an organ
  • n. any of the three persons of the Godhead constituting the Trinity especially the person of Christ in which divine and human natures are united
  • n. (metaphysics) essential nature or underlying reality


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

Late Latin, from Greek hupostasis : hupo-, hypo- + stasis, a standing; see stā- in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From ecclesiastical Latin hypostasis, from Ancient Greek ὑπόστασις ("sediment, foundation; substance, existence, essence"), from ὑπό + στάσις ("standing").


  • For this reason he understood the term hypostasis/substance not in the objective sense (of a reality present within us), but in the subjective sense, as an expression of an interior attitude, and so, naturally, he also had to understand the term argumentum as a disposition of the subject.

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  • For the Fathers and for the theologians of the Middle Ages, it was clear that the Greek word hypostasis was to be rendered in Latin with the term substantia.

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  • I wonder if Logos and Wisdom are more on the divine side of the ledger and if we can use the word hypostasis?

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  • On the other hand their word hypostasis, from hypo-histemi, was taken to correspond to the Latin substantia, from sub-stare.

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  • That Nestorius cannot, on the contrary, have taken nature to mean the same as hypostasis and both to mean essence is obvious enough, for three plain reasons: first, he cannot have meant anything so absolutely opposed to the meaning given to the word hypostasis by the Monophysites; secondly, if he meant nature by hypostasis he had no word at all left for

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  • It is urged by Bethune-Baker that Nestorius and his friends took the word hypostasis in the sense of nature, and by Lebon that the

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  • [2043] The simpler explanation of the use of the word hypostasis in the passage under discussion is that it has the earlier sense, equivalent to Athan.,

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  • Basil is anxious to show that his own view is identical with the Nicene, and does not admit a development and variation in the meaning of the word hypostasis; but on comparing such a passage as that in Athan. c.

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  • But more importantly, the reason Augustine is careful about the word 'person' in V.9 is not that he is in doubt about whether there are persons in God, but the purely historical fact that 'persona' as the Latin term had to be recruited from a meaning that didn't exactly fit the Greek word 'hypostasis'; he points out the well-known fact that "three hypostaseis in one ousia" sounds very confusing to Latin ears, because the natural way to translate this would be "three substantiae in one essentia," which is not what the Latins would say because they would tend to regard "substantia" and "essentia" as synonyms.

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  • It's true that "the notion of hypostasis is an essential element of all except the most eccentrically unorthodox Christian traditions" emphasis added; the word is not. HYPOSTASIS.


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