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.

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

Recent Catholic Commentary

Holding bishops accountable: the next steps 11 hours ago
The real story behind the French ambassador's nomination to the Holy See 14 hours ago
A joyful noise unto the Lord: Goal met! May 26
De Lubac’s notes on the Second Vatican Council, section 3 May 26
Urgent! We need extra financial support between now and May 24th. May 22

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days