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hypostasis

Definitions

  • WordNet 3.6
    • n hypostasis (metaphysics) essential nature or underlying reality
    • n hypostasis 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 hypostasis the accumulation of blood in an organ
    • n hypostasis the suppression of a gene by the effect of an unrelated gene
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Hypostasis 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.
    • Hypostasis (Theol) 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.
    • Hypostasis That which forms the basis of anything; underlying principle; a concept or mental entity conceived or treated as an existing being or thing.
    • Hypostasis (Med) That which is deposited at the bottom of a fluid; sediment.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n hypostasis That which underlies something else; that which forms the basis of something; foundation; support.
    • n hypostasis In theology, a person of the Trinity; one of the three real and distinct subsistences in the one undivided substance or essence of God. The Christian uses of the term hypostasis started from the meaning ‘a reality; a real personal subsistence or substance.’ In this sense the word could be used of God either as the Trinity or as each person of the Trinity. Accordingly, the meaning of the phrase “character of his [the Father's] hypostasis,' in Heb. i. 3, has been variously understood, the authorized version translating it “express image of his person,” and the revised version, “the very image [margin, the impress] of his substance,” and the general usage of the early church being unsettled down to the time of the Arian controversy. In the Western Church the word person (persona, πρόσωπον) had come into use in the sense still retained by us, and hypostasis, substance, or subsistence (substantia, subsistentia) was used as equivalent to ‘essence’ (οὐσία). The Greeks objected to persona or πρόσωπον (properly, a mask or dramatic character), as conveying the Patripassian or .Sabellian idea of a mere difference of manifestation, and πρόσωπον never became thoroughly adopted as a Greek theological term. At Alexandria, in the third and fourth centuries, on the other hand, hypostasis had come to be generally used in the sense of ‘person,’ while at Antioch in the middle of the fourth century there were two different parties among the orthodox: the Meletians, who used hypostasis in the sense of ‘person,’ and the Eustathians, who used it as equivalent to ‘substance’ or ‘essence’ (οὐσια). At a council in Alexandria, a. d. 362. under St. Athanasius, it was agreed that both parties were equally orthodox, and held the same doctrine under a different terminology, and after this the use of hypostasis in the sense of ‘essence’ was gradually abandoned.
    • n hypostasis 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 hypostasis A hypothetical substance; a phenomenon or state of things spoken and thought of as if it were a substance.
    • n hypostasis 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 hypostasis In medicine: A sediment, as of the urine; any morbid deposition in the body.
    • n hypostasis An overfullness of blood-vessels caused by a dependent position, as of the veins of the legs (varicose veins), etc.; hypostatic congestion. Also hypostasy.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Hypostasis hī-pos′ta-sis a substance: the essence or real personal subsistence or substance of each of the three divisions of the Godhead
    • ***

Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L., fr. Gr. subsistence, substance, fr. to stand under; under + to stand, middle voice of to cause to stand. See Hypo-, and Stand
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
L.,—Gr. hypostasishyphistēmihypo, under, histēmi, I make to stand.

Usage

In literature:

A misty English morning the imp hypostasis tickled his brain.
"Ulysses" by James Joyce
The consequences of a hypostasis of the good are no less interesting than its causes.
"Winds Of Doctrine" by George Santayana
Internally, hypostasis must not be mistaken for congestion of the brain or lungs, or the results of inflammation of the intestines.
"Aids to Forensic Medicine and Toxicology" by W. G. Aitchison Robertson
This involved, of course, its hypostasis as the metaphysical reality of supreme importance.
"Creative Intelligence" by John Dewey, Addison W. Moore, Harold Chapman Brown, George H. Mead, Boyd H. Bode, Henry Waldgrave, Stuart James, Hayden Tufts, Horace M. Kallen
He is not an hypostasis, and yet he was begotten.
"The Christ Of Paul" by George Reber
It is rather a potential human individual, a nature not yet developed into a person or hypostasis.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 15, Slice 4" by Various
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In poetry:

So for your face I have exchanged all faces,
For your few properties bargained the brisk
Baggage, the mask-and-magic-man's regalia.
Now you become my boredom and my failure,
Another way of suffering, a risk,
A heavier-than-air hypostasis.
"To My Wife" by Philip Larkin