pos·​tu·​late | \ ˈpäs-chə-ˌlāt How to pronounce postulate (audio) \
postulated; postulating

Definition of postulate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : demand, claim
2a : to assume or claim as true, existent, or necessary : depend upon or start from the postulate of
b : to assume as a postulate or axiom (as in logic or mathematics)


pos·​tu·​late | \ ˈpäs-chə-lət How to pronounce postulate (audio) , -ˌlāt \

Definition of postulate (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a hypothesis advanced as an essential presupposition, condition, or premise of a train of reasoning

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Other Words from postulate


postulation \ ˌpäs-​chə-​ˈlā-​shən How to pronounce postulate (audio) \ noun
postulational \ ˌpäs-​chə-​ˈlā-​shnəl How to pronounce postulate (audio) , -​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective

Did you know?

In 1703, the dedication of the City and County Purchaser and Builders Dictionary included the following words: "These your extraordinary Favours … seem to Postulate from me … a Publick Recognition." That sense of postulate, a synonym of claim or demand, has been used by English speakers since the early 1600s. (The word's Latin grandparent, postulare, has the same meaning, but postulate first appeared earlier in the 1500s in senses restricted to ecclesiastical law.) Postulate was also used as a noun in the late 1500s, with the meaning "demand" or "stipulation." That sense is now considered archaic, but we still use the noun postulate. Today, it usually means "a hypothesis advanced as an essential presupposition, condition, or premise of a train of reasoning."

Examples of postulate in a Sentence

Verb Scientists have postulated the existence of water on the planet. postulates that all people are born with certain rights that can never be taken away from them Noun Einstein's theory of relativity was deduced from two postulates. one of the postulates that the true agnostic rejects is the assumption that it is even possible for us to know whether God exists
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Others postulate that a multiple-choice protocol or a binary encoding might be a means to prevent the AI from deviously fooling a human guard. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 5 May 2022 The theory, which is laid out in Steele’s 1988 paper, goes on to postulate that people are motivated to maintain views of themselves as morally good and competent. Washington Post, 2 May 2022 Some astronomers, Hailey and his co-authors among them, postulate that the distinction can be made by carefully monitoring the timing of an x-ray binary’s outbursts. Lyndie Chiou, Scientific American, 5 Apr. 2022 Scientists postulate that the bacillus originated in some lower animal and jumped to humans. Washington Post, 23 Mar. 2022 Experts postulate that the housing bubble burst in tandem with economic hardships of the Great Recession pushed many people of home-buying age to the cities. al, 6 Feb. 2022 Although cooler than the rest of the sun’s surface, some scientists postulate that sunspots have an overall warming effect on the sun. Curtis Roelle,, 10 Apr. 2021 Some scholars postulate that the severe injury reminded him of his time in World War I, when his first concussion took place. Elizabeth Djinis, Smithsonian Magazine, 1 Apr. 2021 Fans love to postulate and theorize and try to connect the dots between a show or a movie and a single issue of a comic that was published half a century ago. Jacob Siegal, BGR, 4 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun That’s the main postulate of the supremely interesting and information-filled 2021 Global Startup Ecosystem Report (GSER), released earlier this week by Startup Genome with the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN). Dane Stangler, Forbes, 24 Sep. 2021 Belief in this postulate is evident at universities across the country, with many adopting protocols to ensure a safe, on-campus experience this fall. Blake D. Morant, Forbes, 20 May 2021 But this isn’t necessarily so, and it’s the fifth postulate’s fault. Ethan Siegel, Forbes, 5 Mar. 2021 If Euclid’s fifth postulate were true, then any two lines of longitude could never intersect. Ethan Siegel, Forbes, 5 Mar. 2021 At the heart of this particular puzzle lies a conflict between three fundamental postulates beloved by many physicists. Jennifer Ouellette, Quanta Magazine, 21 Dec. 2012 Starting from these two postulates, Einstein showed that space and time are intertwined in ways that scientists had never previously realized. NBC News, 13 Apr. 2018 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'postulate.' 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 postulate


1605, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1590, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for postulate


Latin postulatus, past participle of postulare; akin to Latin poscere to ask, Old High German forscōn to search, Sanskrit pṛcchati he asks — more at pray


Medieval Latin postulatum, from neuter of postulatus, past participle of postulare to assume, from Latin, to demand

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The first known use of postulate was in 1590

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postulational system

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Last Updated

19 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Postulate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for postulate


pos·​tu·​late | \ ˈpäs-chə-lət, -ˌlāt How to pronounce postulate (audio) \

Medical Definition of postulate

: a hypothesis advanced as an essential presupposition, condition, or premise of a train of reasoning — see koch's postulates

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Nglish: Translation of postulate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of postulate for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about postulate


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