em·​pir·​ic | \ im-ˈpir-ik How to pronounce empiric (audio) , em-\

Definition of empiric

2 : one who relies on practical experience

Examples of empiric in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The irony is that citizenship helps drive integration — not the other way around Like many immigration arguments, the case for ending birthright citizenship is a normative argument wrapped in incorrect empirics. Dara Lind, Vox, "Birthright citizenship, explained: why some on the right want to end it, and what they get wrong," 23 July 2018 Atheists are philosophers not scientists and science is not a philosophy or a religion but a method of empiric inquiry based on questioning, imagination and experimentation. Wired Letters Department, WIRED, "From Scott Wilson," 1 Dec. 2006

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'empiric.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of empiric

1600, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for empiric

Middle English emperiqe "physician in ancient Greece and Rome who held that treatment should be based on observation rather than theory," borrowed from Latin empīricus, empēricus, borrowed from Greek empeirikós, derivative of empeirikós, adjective, "based on observation (of medical treatment), experienced," from empeiría "experience, practice" (derivative of émpeiros "experienced, practiced," from em- en- entry 2 + -peiros, derivative of peîra "attempt, trial, test") + -ikos -ic entry 1; peîra going back to *per-i̯a, derivative of a verbal base *per- perhaps going back to Indo-European *per- "cross, pass" — more at fare entry 1

Note: See note at peril entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about empiric

Statistics for empiric

Time Traveler for empiric

The first known use of empiric was in 1600

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for empiric


em·​pir·​ic | \ im-ˈpir-ik, em- How to pronounce empiric (audio) \

Medical Definition of empiric

1a : a member of an ancient sect of physicians who based their practice on experience alone disregarding all theoretical and philosophic considerations
b : quack

More from Merriam-Webster on empiric

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with empiric

Comments on empiric

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


a calculated move

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Confusing Words—A Quiz

  • alice with tweedle dee and tweedle dum
  • I invented a brand new toaster robot and ______ it "Sir Toasts-a-Lot."
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!