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

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

The exercise will take place at the 2019 Planetary Defense Conference, where representatives from several different countries will be tasked with planning a response to a hypothetical asteroid. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "NASA Is Preparing for a Fake Asteroid Impact," 25 Apr. 2019 One’s mind can run wild with what a hypothetical Martha Stewart setlist would look like. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Martha Stewart DJing on the Street Is My Coachella," 18 Apr. 2019 Sure, that’s a hypothetical, but my point is that every buyer brings his own perspective and needs. Houston Chronicle, "Realtor View: Is this house the one?," 24 June 2018 In a hypothetical head-to-head matchup, McCaskill and Hawley tie at 45 percent each. Dana Blanton, Fox News, "Fox News Poll: McCaskill up in Missouri Senate race by a whisker," 12 Sep. 2018 Smith has a 9-point lead in a hypothetical matchup with Housley, according to the latest polling average from RealClearPolitics. Ella Nilsen, Vox, "Live results for Minnesota primary elections," 14 Aug. 2018 In hypothetical matchups, the poll found 48% favored Walker over Evers, who received 44% support. Bill Glauber, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "MU Poll: Republican Gov. Scott Walker leads Democratic rivals," 20 June 2018 The Republican president and the former Democratic vice president are trading fighting words over who'd come out on top in a hypothetical matchup. Mike Cason, AL.com, "Gov. Kay Ivey signs bill to allow execution by nitrogen hypoxia," 22 Mar. 2018 The poll also noted 14 percent would be undecided in this hypothetical matchup. James Hibberd, EW.com, "Poll: Oprah would easily beat Trump in 2020 matchup," 10 Jan. 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

10 May 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).


something valued as if it were money

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