hy·​po·​thet·​i·​cal | \ ˌhī-pə-ˈthe-ti-kəl How to pronounce hypothetical (audio) \

Definition of hypothetical

: involving or being based on a suggested idea or theory : being or involving a hypothesis : conjectural hypothetical arguments a hypothetical situation

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Other Words from hypothetical

hypothetical noun
hypothetically \ ˌhī-​pə-​ˈthe-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce hypothetically (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for hypothetical


academic (also academical), conjectural, speculative, suppositional, theoretical (also theoretic)


actual, factual, real

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Examples of hypothetical in a Sentence

She described a hypothetical case to clarify her point. we talked about what we would do in various hypothetical emergencies

Recent Examples on the Web

No planets have been confirmed around either Alpha Cen A or B, so all discussion of such worlds is strictly hypothetical. Mike Wall, Space.com, "Could Alien Life Handle the Radiation in 3-Star Alpha Centauri System?," 12 June 2018 The mission would launch on what's being called an Ariane 64, a version of the still-hypothetical launch vehicle Ariane 6 built by ArianeGroup. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "The ESA Is Taking Steps to Mine Moon Dust," 23 Jan. 2019 To be clear, this was a strictly hypothetical social media exercise. Mike Snyder, Houston Chronicle, "Should area school named after 'Little House' author get a new name?," 27 June 2018 The big question: Where to put these hypothetical new schools? Juliette Mavroleon, miamiherald, "More high-quality private schools would electrify South Florida real estate," 17 June 2018 Light axions looking for enlightenment The version of dark matter that is the focus of this work is a hypothetical subatomic particle known as the axion. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Pulsars could convert dark matter into something we could see," 20 Dec. 2018 This is the point where Zuckerberg tried to take the spotlight off the specific question of Infowars and its sins and move the discussion onto stronger ground by giving the hypothetical, but more personal, example of the Holocaust. Ezra Klein, Vox, "The controversy over Mark Zuckerberg’s comments on Holocaust denial, explained," 20 July 2018 The hypothetical technology would then allow marketers to better sell products to a family. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Facebook's Latest Fail Allowed Unauthorized Access to the Photos of 6.8 Million Users," 14 Dec. 2018 But here's the plot twist: With 11% of votes each, the Dunpheys of Modern Family tied with the Simpsons for second-best hypothetical neighbors. Hadley Mendelsohn, House Beautiful, "These Are The Most Desirable Neighbors On TV, According To Zillow," 14 Dec. 2018

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

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First Known Use of hypothetical

1588, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for hypothetical

Last Updated

15 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hypothetical

The first known use of hypothetical was in 1588

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More Definitions for hypothetical



English Language Learners Definition of hypothetical

: involving or based on a suggested idea or theory : involving or based on a hypothesis
: not real : imagined as an example


hy·​po·​thet·​i·​cal | \ ˌhī-pə-ˈthe-ti-kəl How to pronounce hypothetical (audio) \

Kids Definition of hypothetical

1 : involving or based on a hypothesis
2 : imagined as an example for further thought a hypothetical situation

Other Words from hypothetical

hypothetically adverb speaking hypothetically

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Comments on hypothetical

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


a flaw that causes the downfall of a hero

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