Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

theoretical

play
adjective the·o·ret·i·cal \ˌthē-ə-ˈre-ti-kəl, ˌthir-ˈe-\

Simple Definition of theoretical

  • : relating to what is possible or imagined rather than to what is known to be true or real

  • : relating to the general principles or ideas of a subject rather than the practical uses of those ideas

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of theoretical

  1. 1a :  relating to or having the character of theory :  abstractb :  confined to theory or speculation often in contrast to practical applications :  speculative <theoretical physics>

  2. 2 :  given to or skilled in theorizing <a brilliant theoretical physicist>

  3. 3 :  existing only in theory :  hypothetical <gave as an example a theoretical situation>

Examples of theoretical in a sentence

  1. On a theoretical level, hiring more people seems logical.

  2. The idea is purely theoretical at this point.

  3. The danger is more than just a theoretical possibility.



Variants of theoretical

also

theoretic

play \-tik\

Origin and Etymology of theoretical

Late Latin theoreticus, from Greek theōrētikos, from theōrein to look at


First Known Use: 1601




Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up theoretical? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to destroy or remove completely

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

two-chairs-on-a-pier-by-the-ocean-in-summer

Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?

vernal hiemal brumal estival
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ