• (British) IPA: /haɪˈpɒstəsɪs/
  • (America) IPA: /haɪˈpɑstəsɪs/


  1. (medicine, now, historical) A sedimentary deposit, especially in urine. [from 14th c.]
    • 1588, Christopher Marlowe, Tamburlaine the Great, V.3:
      Physician: I have viewed your urine, and the hypostasis, / Thick and obscure, doth make the danger great.
    • 1999, Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, translating Paracelsus, Opus Paramirum, in Essential Readings, North Atlantic Books 1999, p. 92:
      Thus the kidneys also have their particular excrement which is contained in it and is the hypostasis (deposit).
  2. (theology) The essential person, specifically the single person of Christ (as distinguished from his two ‘natures’, human and divine), or of the three ‘persons’ of the Trinity (sharing a single ‘essence’). [from 16th c.]
    • 2000, Karen Armstrong, The Battle for God, Harper 2004, p. 69:
      As Gregory of Nyssa had explained, the three hypostases of Father, Son, and Spirit were not objective facts but simply “terms that we use” to express the way in which the “unnameable and unspeakable” divine nature (ousia) adapts itself to the limitations of our human minds.
    • 2009, Diarmaid MacCulloch, A History of Christianity, Penguin 2010, p. 218:
      As a result of this verbal pact, the Trinity consists of three equal hypostaseis in one ousia: three equal Persons (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) sharing one Essence or Substance (Trinity or Godhead).
  3. (philosophy) The underlying reality or substance of something. [from 17th c.]
    • 1975, Mary Boyce, History of Zoroastrianism, vol. I, Brill 1975, p. 59:
      Rašnu, the "Judge", appears to be the hypostasis of the idea embodied in the common noun rašnu, "judging, one who judges".
  4. (genetics) The effect of one gene preventing another from expressing. [from 20th c.]
  5. Postmortem lividity; livor mortis; suggillation.
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