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

Definition of empiric

2 : one who relies on practical experience

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

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The first known use of empiric was in 1600

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Cite this Entry

“Empiric.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/empiric. Accessed 16 Jan. 2021.

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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

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