hy·​po·​thet·​i·​cal·​ly ˌhī-pə-ˈthe-ti-k(ə-)lē How to pronounce hypothetically (audio)
: by making an assumption for the sake of discussion or argument : in a hypothetical way
speaking hypothetically
In this lucid report … he uses genetic differences, maps, computer simulations and an analysis of linguistic changes in the world's languages to hypothetically reconstruct the mass migrations of people across continents since modern humans first appeared.Genevieve Stuttaford
We asked ourselves hypothetically: If the chairmen of the boards of these major tobacco companies walked in here today and said, "Okay, we're ready to do a deal," what did we want?Lewis H. Lapham
used to suggest what is theoretically possible
Hypothetically, you could use a computer to synthesize a large number of harmonics, add them back together, and reproduce a sound similar to that of the bowed violin string.Dragan Huterer

Examples of hypothetically in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web And Johnson has not yet passed the CR with Democratic votes, and hypothetically could change course. The Editors, National Review, 14 Nov. 2023 It was soon tasked with making a limited number of pits for submarines, but that project was scuttled when it was revealed that scientists had put a number of pits side by side for the purpose of taking a photograph—a scenario that, hypothetically, could lead to a critical nuclear reaction. Abe Streep, Scientific American, 10 Nov. 2023 The Jedi task had a rat hypothetically move an object to a location in its mind. Laura Baisas, Popular Science, 2 Nov. 2023 This would hypothetically clear the way for new companies’ innovative products that would otherwise face difficulty attempting to gain any kind of foothold in a digital ecosystem ostensibly overseen and guided by Google. Andrew Paul, Popular Science, 14 Sep. 2023 Stephens and the Democrats could in turn, hypothetically, convince one additional Republican to join them to pass a map if talks break down. cleveland, 12 Sep. 2023 Franke was speaking hypothetically, putting herself in the position of a person who is harboring a secret. Sean Neumann, Peoplemag, 1 Sep. 2023 In fact, waste heat from power plants could hypothetically support 27% of residential air-conditioning needs, which would reduce overall energy consumption and carbon emissions. Matthew T. Hughes, Fortune, 29 Aug. 2023 Say hypothetically, there is a working mother who can focus on one class in five weeks — get that knocked out, focus on another class and another class. Debbie Truong, Los Angeles Times, 19 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hypothetically.' 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

1593, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of hypothetically was in 1593

Dictionary Entries Near hypothetically

Cite this Entry

“Hypothetically.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hypothetically. Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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