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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Logos \Log"os\, n. [NL., fr. Gr. lo`gos the word or form which expresses a thought, also, the thought, fr. ? to speak.]

  1. A word; reason; speech.
    --H. Bushell.

  2. The divine Word; Christ.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1580s, Logos, "the divine Word, second person of the Christian Trinity," from Greek logos "word, speech, discourse," also "reason," from PIE root *leg- "to collect" (with derivatives meaning "to speak," on notion of "to pick out words;" see lecture (n.)); used by Neo-Platonists in various metaphysical and theological senses and picked up by New Testament writers.\n

\nOther English formations from logos include logolatry "worship of words, unreasonable regard for words or verbal truth" (1810 in Coleridge); logomania (1870); logophobia (1923).


Etymology 1 n. 1 (context rhetoric English) A form of rhetoric in which the writer or speaker uses logic as the main argument. 2 (alternative case form of Logos English) Etymology 2

n. (plural of logo English)


(, ; Greek: , from λέγω lego "I say") is an important term in western philosophy, psychology, rhetoric, and religion. It is a Greek word meaning "a ground", "a plea", "an opinion", "an expectation", "word", "speech", "account", "to reason", but it became a technical term in philosophy beginning with Heraclitus (ca. 535–475 BC), who used the term for a principle of order and knowledge.

Ancient Greek philosophers used the term in different ways. The sophists used the term to mean discourse, and Aristotle applied the term to refer to "reasoned discourse" or "the argument" in the field of rhetoric. The Stoic philosophers identified the term with the divine animating principle pervading the Universe. Under Hellenistic Judaism, Philo (c. 20 BC – AD 50) adopted the term into Jewish philosophy. The Gospel of John identifies the Logos, through which all things are made, as divine ( theos), and further identifies Jesus Christ as the incarnate Logos. Although the term "Logos" is widely used in this Christian sense, in academic circles it often refers to the various ancient Greek uses, or to post-Christian uses within contemporary philosophy, Sufism, and the analytical psychology of Carl Jung.

Despite the conventional translation as "word", it is not used for a word in the grammatical sense; instead, the term lexis (λέξις) was used. However, both logos and lexis derive from the same verb legō (λέγω), meaning "to count, tell, say, speak".

Professor Jeanne Fahnestock describes logos as a "premise." She states that, to find the reason behind a rhetor's backing of a certain position or stance, one must acknowledge the different "premises" that the rhetor applies via his or her chosen diction. She continues by stating that the rhetor's success will come down to "certain objects of agreement...between arguer and audience." "Logos is logical appeal, and the term logic is derived from it. It is normally used to describe facts and figures that support the speaker's topic." Furthermore, logos is credited with appealing to the audience's sense of logic, with the definition of “logic” being concerned with the thing as it is known. Furthermore, you can appeal to this sense of logic in two ways: 1) through inductive logic, providing the audience with relevant examples and using them to point back to the overall statement; 2) through deductive enthymeme, providing the audience with general scenarios and then pulling out a certain truth.

Philo distinguished between logos prophorikos ("the uttered word") and the logos endiathetos ("the word remaining within"). The Stoics also spoke of the logos spermatikos (the generative principle of the Universe), which is not important in the Biblical tradition but is relevant in Neoplatonism. Early translators from Greek, such as Jerome in the 4th century, were frustrated by the inadequacy of any single Latin word to convey the Logos expressed in the Gospel of John. The Vulgate Bible usage of in principio erat verbum was thus constrained to use the (perhaps inadequate) noun verbum for "word", but later romance language translations had the advantage of nouns such as le mot in French. Reformation translators took another approach. Martin Luther rejected Zeitwort (verb) in favor of Wort (word), for instance, although later commentators repeatedly turned to a more dynamic use involving the living word as felt by Jerome and Augustine.

Logos (disambiguation)

Logos is an important term in philosophy, analytical psychology, rhetoric, and religion.

Logos may also be:

Logos (Christianity)

In Christology, the Logos is a name or title of Jesus Christ, seen as the pre-existent second person of the Trinity. It has been important for establishing the doctrine of the divinity of Jesus and his being God the Son by Trinitarian theologians as set forth in the Chalcedonian Definition.

The concept derives from the prologue to the Gospel of John, which is often translated into English as: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." In the translations, "Word" is used for Λόγος, although the term is often used transliterated but untranslated in theological discourse.

Logos (album)

Logos is the second studio album from ambient experimental project Atlas Sound. It was released on October 19, 2009, in Europe by 4AD, and on October 20 in the US by Kranky Records. The album features guest contributions from Noah Lennox (a.k.a. Panda Bear of Animal Collective) and Stereolab's Laetitia Sadier. Units ordered directly from Rough Trade came packaged with a bonus six-song EP of leftover material. The album reached #7 on the Billboard Heatseekers album chart. The cover art is an image of Bradford Cox, who has Marfan syndrome, and is inspired by the artwork of his previous release.

Usage examples of "logos".

Wherever the Logos Christology had been adopted the future of Christian Hellenism was certain.

At the beginning of the fourth century there was no community in Christendom which, apart from the Logos doctrine, possessed a purely philosophical theory that was regarded as an ecclesiastical dogma, to say nothing of an official scientific theology.

The Logos doctrine started the crystallising process which resulted in further deposits.

Catholic dogmatic, as it was developed after the second or third century on the basis of the Logos doctrine, is Christianity conceived and formulated from the standpoint of the Greek philosophy of religion.

By the end of the third century there can no longer have been any considerable number of outlying communities where the doctrines of the pre-existence of Christ and the identity of this pre-existent One with the divine Logos were not recognised as the orthodox belief.

Church which is to be on earth as it is in heaven, and of which faith forms the subjective and the Logos the objective bond of union.

Finally, however, he sees in the Eucharist the union of the divine Logos with the human spirit, recognises, like Cyprian at a later period, that the mixture of wine with water in the symbol represents the spiritual process, and lastly does not fail to attribute to the holy food a relationship to the body.

The wonderful arrangement, carried out by the Logos himself, through which he ennobled the human race by restoring its consciousness of its own nobility, compels no one henceforth to regard the reasonable as the unreasonable or wisdom as folly.

Measured by the fulness, clearness, and certainty of the knowledge imparted by the Logos Christ, all knowledge independent of him appears as merely human wisdom, even when it emanates from the seed of the Logos.

The motive for this dogma and the interest in it would be wrongly determined by alleging that the Apologists purposely introduced the Logos in order to separate God from matter, because they regarded this as something bad.

Still less indeed can it be shown that they were all impelled to this dogma from their view of Jesus Christ, since in this connection, with the exception of Justin and Tertullian, they manifested no specific interest in the incarnation of the Logos in Jesus.

From this arose the idea of the Logos, and indeed the latter was necessarily distinguished from God as a separate existence, as soon as the realisation of the powers residing in God was represented as beginning.

In other words, the Logos is not only the creative Reason of God, but also his revealing Word.

Indeed their conception of the Logos continually compelled them to identify the Logos and the Spirit, just as they not unfrequently define Christianity as the belief in the true God and in his Son, without mentioning the Spirit.

Further, the Logos is not cut off and separated from God, nor is he a mere modality in him.