null hypothesis


: a statistical hypothesis to be tested and accepted or rejected in favor of an alternative
specifically : the hypothesis that an observed difference (as between the means of two samples) is due to chance alone and not due to a systematic cause

Examples of null hypothesis in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Of course, the only way to test that null hypothesis is to continue the search—ideally without overlooking any evidence that may lurk right under our robotic or real noses. Derek Smith, Scientific American, 17 Apr. 2023 But the 95% significance threshold under the permuted null hypothesis turned out to be an almost-as-spectacular r=0.84! Neuroskeptic, Discover Magazine, 11 May 2019 People normally use this method to see whether some 'complex' model fits the data significantly better than a 'simple' model (the null hypothesis). Neuroskeptic, Discover Magazine, 6 May 2014 Scientists, by contrast, operate from what seems to most people to be the counterintuitive position of the null hypothesis: an assumption that one is wrong until proven otherwise. WSJ, 28 Aug. 2022 Researchers now routinely take this model – Einstein plus dark matter, often called the ‘null hypothesis’ – as their starting point and then perform detailed calculations of galactic systems to test it. Pavel Kroupa, Discover Magazine, 6 Feb. 2017 The statement is true in theory - by definition, p values should behave in that way assuming the null hypothesis is true. Neuroskeptic, Discover Magazine, 25 Jan. 2013 Null results in null hypothesis significance testing are inherently ambiguous. Neuroskeptic, Discover Magazine, 3 July 2015 Even populations with strong effects should have some experiments that do not reject the null hypothesis. Neuroskeptic, Discover Magazine, 20 Oct. 2012

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

1935, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of null hypothesis was in 1935

Dictionary Entries Near null hypothesis

Cite this Entry

“Null hypothesis.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Apr. 2024.

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