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



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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 Still others distinguish affirmative criminal misconduct from omissions to act and gross incompetence or negligence (the hypothetical president who goes on vacation for months at a time, abdicating his responsibilities). Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, "There Is No Strict Legal Test of Impeachment," 31 Jan. 2020 The threats to campaigns aren’t hypothetical: U.S. national-security officials have concluded that Russian hackers stole emails from John Podesta, then chairman of Mrs. Clinton’s 2016 campaign, which WikiLeaks published online. Alexa Corse, WSJ, "Tech Companies Volunteer to Beef Up Presidential Campaigns’ Cybersecurity," 23 Jan. 2020 Coons insisted to the administration that his question was not a hypothetical, rather, a predictable turn of events that could emerge over the next six to nine months. Seung Min Kim, Anchorage Daily News, "Tensions flare as Congress chafes at its back-seat role," 10 Jan. 2020 Letter revels in bantering with the judges and is at ease in nerve-racking court sessions of hypothetical, rapid-fire questioning, said Matt Collette, who was Letter’s deputy at the Justice Department. Washington Post, "In court, he speaks for Speaker Nancy Pelosi," 25 Dec. 2019 Or maybe this hypothetical never unfolds because one or both of these teams slips up in the next two weeks. Nathan Baird, cleveland, "Does Ohio State football control its destiny for No. 1 in the College Football Playoff?," 27 Nov. 2019 For most observers, the discussion around the NCAA’s proposal to allow all athletes to transfer once without sitting out a year is centered around hypothetical scenarios. Jon Hale, The Courier-Journal, "Proposed transfer changes 'could make everything a lot easier' for Joey Gatewood, UK QBs," 3 Mar. 2020 Reuters/Anushree Fadnavis This week, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos entertained the internet with a hypothetical question: What’s the right way to say no to a meeting request? Sarah Todd, Quartz at Work, "Jeff Bezos poses a great question: How do you say no to annoying meeting requests?," 7 Feb. 2020 In hypothetical general election match-ups, Trump leads Sanders, 45% to 39% and Warren, 46% to 37%. Robert T. Garrett, Dallas News, "Donald Trump ahead in Texas, though Joe Biden, Mike Bloomberg close behind, Dallas Morning News-UT Tyler poll shows," 2 Feb. 2020

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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Time Traveler for hypothetical

Time Traveler

The first known use of hypothetical was in 1588

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Statistics for hypothetical

Last Updated

28 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Hypothetical.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hypothetical. Accessed 5 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for hypothetical


How to pronounce hypothetical (audio)

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

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