adjective heu·ris·tic \hy-ˈris-tik\

: using experience to learn and improve

Full Definition of HEURISTIC

:  involving or serving as an aid to learning, discovery, or problem-solving by experimental and especially trial-and-error methods <heuristic techniques> <a heuristic assumption>; also :  of or relating to exploratory problem-solving techniques that utilize self-educating techniques (as the evaluation of feedback) to improve performance <a heuristic computer program>
heu·ris·ti·cal·ly \-ti-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

Examples of HEURISTIC

  1. If Orbitz prevails, its online reservation process alone may blow away the competition. Unlike mainframe-based systems … , Orbitz uses racks of PCs to search fare data, making it easier to scale up computing power. And its intelligent … algorithms evaluate all the possible fares simultaneously instead of employing heuristic shortcuts designed to use as little computing power as possible. —Evan Ratliff, WIRED, September 2000


German heuristisch, from New Latin heuristicus, from Greek heuriskein to discover; akin to Old Irish fo-fúair he found
First Known Use: 1821

Other Philosophy Terms

dialectic, dualism, epistemology, existentialism, metaphysics, ontology, sequitur, solipsism, transcendentalism


noun heu·ris·tic \hy-ˈris-tik\

Definition of HEURISTIC

:  the study or practice of heuristic (see 1heuristic) procedure
:  heuristic (see 1heuristic) argument
:  a heuristic (see 1heuristic) method or procedure

Examples of HEURISTIC

  1. Cult is best understood not as a descriptor, but as a command, like a law officer's Halt! Its purpose is to stop and contain. A more useful heuristic would be to identify precisely the most disturbing practices, beliefs, or incidents in the world of a cult … —Robert A. Orsi, Commonweal6 Oct. 2000


(see 1heuristic)
First Known Use: 1860

Other Computer-Related Terms

adware, flash, kludge, phishing, recursive, router


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