hy·​po·​thet·​i·​cal ˌhī-pə-ˈthe-ti-kəl How to pronounce hypothetical (audio)
: involving or being based on a suggested idea or theory : being or involving a hypothesis : conjectural
hypothetical arguments
a hypothetical situation
hypothetical noun

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 prevailing view for the last 40 years has held that dark matter comprises hypothetical, exotic particles called weakly interacting massive particles, or wimps. Dennis Overbye, New York Times, 26 Jan. 2024 In the highly unlikely hypothetical of Hurts regressing badly and the Eagles wanting to move on before the 2025 season, cutting him would result in a $90.8 million cap hit and trading him would bring on an $85.8 dead money hit or $25 million after June 1, 2025. Barry Jackson, Miami Herald, 25 Jan. 2024 Take, for instance, a hypothetical employee who has endured a brutal and toxic work environment. Ebony Flake, Essence, 18 Jan. 2024 For now, though, Combs is planning on voting for Biden in a hypothetical race against Trump in November. Tal Axelrod, ABC News, 18 Jan. 2024 The way Apple has structured this link entitlement is similar to a hypothetical suggested by Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in the original Epic v. Apple ruling. Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica, 17 Jan. 2024 There are, of course, many flaws in this hypothetical, which ignores eight straight years of the Republican Party failing to take the many opportunities that presented themselves to break with Trump. Susan B. Glasser, The New Yorker, 11 Jan. 2024 But what if there were another, stranger way to make a material magnetic? In 1966, the Japanese physicist Yosuke Nagaoka conceived of a type of magnetism produced by a seemingly unnatural dance of electrons within a hypothetical material. Michael Greshko, WIRED, 28 Jan. 2024 Snoop knocked that one out of the park as well, giving Hudson two hypothetical kisses, one on each cheek. Brenton Blanchet, Peoplemag, 26 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hypothetical.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1588, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of hypothetical was in 1588

Dictionary Entries Near hypothetical

Cite this Entry

“Hypothetical.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hypothetical. Accessed 20 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


hy·​po·​thet·​i·​cal ˌhi-pə-ˈthet-i-kəl How to pronounce hypothetical (audio)
: involving a hypothesis or the making of assumptions : assumed
: imagined for purposes of example
a hypothetical case
hypothetically adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on hypothetical

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