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1. the entire physical structure of an animal or human being
2. the trunk or torso, not including the limbs, head, or tail
3. Maths a three-dimensional region with an interior
4. Physics an object or substance that has three dimensions, a mass, and is distinguishable from surrounding objects
5. the sound box of a guitar, violin, or similar stringed instrument
6. (in watercolour painting) a white filler mixed with pigments to make them opaque


the physical form of the individual human being, which, however, is equally a social product, given that human biological capacities are in many areas underdetermined by biology and profoundly shaped by cultural definitions and social influences.

Although not always fully explicit, numerous topic areas in sociology (e.g. the SOCIOLOGY OF HEALTH AND MEDICINE, or the positionings of the body in face-to-face interaction as studied by GOFFMAN) raise central questions about the body, and the basic characteristics of the body (e.g. its vulnerability and finitude, and constraints on its mobility in time and space) possess crucial social implications. Examples of the latter are that every human society must preserve the basic material conditions for the health and welfare and reproduction of human bodies. The vulnerability of the body also means that the threat of VIOLENCE is a decisive factor in both the maintenance and the limitation of political POWER.

Recently the sociological study of the body (see also SOCIOLOGY OF THE BODY) has become a more central point of focus in the discipline, as seen from the attention given to the work of FOUCAULT or ELIAS on historical changes in the regulation of the body, and the study of the body as a medium of communication (see also BODY LANGUAGE) through gestures, posture, cosmetics and clothing. Feminist theory in particular has drawn attention to the stereotypical use of female bodies, and parts of bodies, in ADVERTISING and pornography, and also to the differences between the masculine and feminine body ideals in Western culture (see also FOOD. ANOREXIA NERVOSA).

In classical PHILOSOPHY, a central issue has been the mind-body relation (see DESCARTES, DUALISM), which finds echoes in many modern sociological debates (e.g. conceptions of FREE WILL). However, as MERLEAU-PONTY, among others, points out, any action always involves ‘bodily being’, so an outright dualism of mind and body is not appropriate. Finally (whatever plausibility may exist for modern conceptions of a DECENTRED SELF), as the physical site of the ‘person’, the boundaries and continuity of the individual body are significant in any identification, identity and continuities of the social SELF, although far from being their only basis.

In recent decades, attention to the constitution of the body has been particularly intense, influenced by FEMINISM as well as FOUCAULT (see Featherstone and Turner, 1996, in the founding issue of the journal Body & Society). See also POST-FEMINISM, BUTLER.

What does it mean when you dream about a body?

Dreams that somehow emphasize the physical body may represent something about one’s state of health. Because our personal identities are so tied up with the body, the body can also appear as a more general symbol of the self (e.g., a naked body may indicate that we feel exposed). Dead bodies are an entirely different matter. (See also Death).


(aerospace engineering)
The main part or main central portion of an airplane, airship, rocket, or the like; a fuselage or hull.
Any fabrication, structure, or other material form, especially one aerodynamically or ballistically designed; for example, an airfoil is a body designed to produce an aerodynamic reaction.
A separate entity or mass of water, such as an ocean or a lake.
An ore body, or pocket of mineral deposit.
The consistency or viscosity of fluid materials, such as lubricating oils, paints, and cosmetics.
(mechanical engineering)
The part of a drill which runs from the outer corners of the cutting lips to the shank or neck.


The principal volume of a building, such as the nave of a church.


Dreaming about your body generally suggests that you are dreaming about your personal identity. Who we are is wrapped around what we look like. Our self-esteem and self-worth are too frequently dependent on our physical appearance. This dream may be pointing out some of the difficulties or pleasures in daily life that are the result of self-identity and based on attachment to our physical bodies. The body in general is the symbol of self, and the details in the dream will lead you to further interpretation. Additionally, if you are dreaming of a specific body region, or part, consider your health status.
References in classic literature ?
I therefore told my master, "that in the country whence I came, those of my kind always covered their bodies with the hairs of certain animals prepared by art, as well for decency as to avoid the inclemencies of air, both hot and cold; of which, as to my own person, I would give him immediate conviction, if he pleased to command me: only desiring his excuse, if I did not expose those parts that nature taught us to conceal.
For if it happened that an individual, even when asleep, had some very distinct idea, as, for example, if a geometer should discover some new demonstration, the circumstance of his being asleep would not militate against its truth; and as for the most ordinary error of our dreams, which consists in their representing to us various objects in the same way as our external senses, this is not prejudicial, since it leads us very properly to suspect the truth of the ideas of sense; for we are not infrequently deceived in the same manner when awake; as when persons in the jaundice see all objects yellow, or when the stars or bodies at a great distance appear to us much smaller than they are.
The eventual election, again, is to be made by that branch of the legislature which consists of the national representatives; but in this particular act they are to be thrown into the form of individual delegations, from so many distinct and coequal bodies politic.
The place was filled with creeping, crawling things; cold, sinuous bodies passed over me when I lay down, and in the darkness I occasionally caught glimpses of gleaming, fiery eyes, fixed in horrible intentness upon me.
They avoided my eyes, and their quivering nostrils investigated the bodies that lay beyond me on the beach.
But then I perceived the re- semblance of its grey-brown, shiny, leathery integument to that of the other sprawling bodies beyond, and the true nature of this dexterous workman dawned upon me.
Again, colour is present in body, therefore in individual bodies, for if there were no individual body in which it was present, it could not be present in body at all.
Hector and those who were in the front rank then gave ground, while the Argives raised a loud cry of triumph, and drew off the bodies of Phorcys and Hippothous which they stripped presently of their armour.
For those that put their bodies to endure in health, may in most sicknesses, which are not very sharp, be cured only with diet, and tendering.
The recognition of man's free will as something capable of influencing historical events, that is, as not subject to laws, is the same for history as the recognition of a free force moving the heavenly bodies would be for astronomy.
There they stood locked and swaying for a moment until Tarzan succeeded in forcing his antagonist backward over a table which crashed to the floor, splintered by the weight of the two heavy bodies.
She shrank from again seeing the headless bodies, and found herself wondering if these things would come out into the fields and work.