Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Dictionary

A modern dictionary of Catholic terms, both common and obscure. Find accurate definitions of words and phrases.

Search:

Or browse the dictionary by selecting a letter!
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

HYLOMORPHISM

The theory that all physical beings are composed of two principles of being: the prime matter, which is an undefined primitive, and a substantial form, which is a definite mode of existence. The two principles are related to each other as potency and act. This theory, which St. Thomas adopted from Aristotle, is based on two features that characterize all material things: the changeableness and the different individuals of a species. Both features can be explained only on the supposition that material things in their deepest nature are composed of two ultimate elements: prime matter, which remains constant in any change and gives individuality to each being; and substantial form, which accounts for the actual existence of different things, their distinctive properties, and the profound alteration that takes place when one substance changes into another. (Etym. Greek hyl_, matter + morphe, contour, form.)

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Denial of Service Attack: Success! 10 hours ago
Federal debt as a social-justice concern 12 hours ago
Another side of Francis: US-Cuba role shows Pope's diplomatic muscle December 18
Silly season: a Christmas approaches, a scholar questions whether Jesus ever existed December 18
The intrinsic immorality of torture: still not convinced? December 18

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope Francis: Europe seems 'elderly and haggard' CWN - November 25
Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch sign joint declaration, lament persecution of Christians CWN - December 1
Consistory for new cardinals scheduled for February CWN - December 11
Vatican report on US women religious calls for further self-assessment CWN - December 16
Pope brokered deal to open US-Cuba ties CWN - December 17