From Bulbapedia, the community-driven Pokémon encyclopedia.
A physical move is one in which the user uses its physical strength or solid projectiles in order to damage its foes. Damage dealt by a physical move depends on both the Attack stat of the attacking Pokémon and the Defense stat of the defending Pokémon. It is notable that while most physical moves contact their target(s), physical and contacting moves are not the same: an example is Earthquake, which, despite being physical, does not require that the user make contact with the target.
Before Generation IV, damaging moves of the following types are physical moves:
From Generation IV onward, moves are designated as physical or special based on the move itself. Most damaging moves of the preceding types are physical moves, and most Dark moves are also physical. However, there are exceptions, such as Focus Blast and Hyper Beam.