in theory


used to say what should happen or be true if a theory is correct
In theory, the reading skills of the students should improve.
used to say that something seems to be true or possible as an idea but may not actually be true or possible
I agree with you in theory, but realistically I don't think we have the time to do that.

Examples of in theory in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The rest of the budget — including funding for the Labor Department, Department of Homeland Security, Defense Department and more — would expire in February, and, in theory, Congress wouldn’t get into debating the second batch until the first tranche is settled. Jacob Bogage, Washington Post, 14 Nov. 2023 They are all connected by a system of promotion and relegation—in theory, any team from the bottom could, in the course of several years, progress to the top. Simon Akam, The New Yorker, 10 Nov. 2023 But with the advent of AI, a studio could — in theory — make a brand-new Western starring a digital version of John Wayne, also without his estate’s approval. Gene Maddaus, Variety, 9 Nov. 2023 Become a Subscriber For several years, researchers have understood that the hallucinatory effects of psychedelics can, in theory, be separated from the other ways the drugs affect our mental state and brain structure. Richard A. Friedman, The Atlantic, 8 Nov. 2023 The re-designation idea, which in theory would bring more visitors to the area, has been opposed by many area residents who say they should have been consulted before Runway Group met with U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Ark., about it over a year ago. Bill Bowden, Arkansas Online, 1 Nov. 2023 It will be supplemented by guidance from the Commerce Department on labeling and watermarking content that is AI-generated, so that authentic footage and imagery can be differentiated from that generated by software (which, in theory, could limit the threat posed by deepfakes). Virginia Chamlee, Peoplemag, 1 Nov. 2023 Supersizing the collectors for better performance makes sense in theory, according to U.S. Geological Survey biologist Tobias Kock, who led the 2019 study. Tony Schick, ProPublica, 31 Oct. 2023 The House was paralyzed without a speaker and in theory can start working again. Michael Smolens, San Diego Union-Tribune, 29 Oct. 2023 See More

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

Dictionary Entries Near in theory

Cite this Entry

“In theory.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2023.

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