noun, plural paths [pathz, pahthz, paths, pahths] /pæðz, pɑðz, pæθs, pɑθs/.

  1. a way beaten, formed, or trodden by the feet of persons or animals.
  2. a narrow walk or way: a path through a garden; a bicycle path.
  3. a route, course, or track along which something moves: the path of a hurricane.
  4. a course of action, conduct, or procedure: the path of righteousness.
  5. Mathematics. a continuous curve that connects two or more points.
  6. Computers. the sequence of steps that a computer follows in carrying out a routine, as in storing and retrieving a file at a specific location.


  1. cross one’s path, to encounter or meet unexpectedly: Tragedy crossed our path again.

  1. variant of patho- before a vowel: pathosis.

  1. a combining form occurring in personal nouns corresponding to abstract nouns ending in -pathy, with the general sense “one practicing such a treatment” (osteopath) or “one suffering from such an ailment” (psychopath).

  1. pathological.
  2. pathology.

noun plural paths (pɑːðz)

  1. a road or way, esp a narrow trodden track
  2. a surfaced walk, as through a garden
  3. the course or direction in which something movesthe path of a whirlwind
  4. a course of conductthe path of virtue
  5. computing the directions for reaching a particular file or directory, as traced hierarchically through each of the parent directories usually from the root; the file or directoryand all parent directories are separated from one another in the path by slashes

abbreviation for

  1. pathological
  2. pathology

n combining form

  1. denoting a person suffering from a specified disease or disorderneuropath
  2. denoting a practitioner of a particular method of treatmentosteopath

n.Old English paþ, pæþ “path, track,” from West Germanic *patha- (cf. Old Frisian path, Middle Dutch pat, Dutch pad, Old High German pfad, German Pfad “path”), of unknown origin. The original initial -p- in a Germanic word is an etymological puzzle. Watkins says the word is “probably borrowed (? via Scythian) from Iranian *path-,” from PIE root *pent- “to tread, go, pass” (cf. Avestan patha “way;” see find (v.)), but this is too much of a stretch for OED and others. In Scotland and Northern England, commonly a steep ascent of a hill or in a road. word-forming element used in modern formations to mean “one suffering from” (a disease or condition), from Greek -pathes, from pathos “suffering” (see pathos). Also “one versed in” (a certain type of treatment), in which cases it is a back-formation from -pathy in the related sense. suff.

  1. A practitioner of a specified kind of medical treatment:naturopath.
  2. One affected by a specified kind of disorder:sociopath.

see beat a path to someone’s door; cross someone’s path; lead down the garden path; least resistance, path of; on the warpath.

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