postulate

verb
pos·tu·late | \ ˈpäs-chə-ˌlāt \
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)

postulate

noun
pos·tu·late | \ ˈpäs-chə-lət , -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

Verb

postulation \ˌpäs-chə-ˈlā-shən \ noun
postulational \ˌpäs-chə-ˈlā-shnəl, -shə-nᵊl \ adjective

Did You Know?

Verb

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's also how the verb "postulate" was used when English speakers first began using it back in the late 1500s, as a synonym of "require" or "demand." (The word's Latin grandparent, postulare, has the same meaning.) "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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Aharonov’s approach is called the two-state-vector formalism (TSVF) of quantum mechanics, and postulates quantum events are in some sense determined by quantum states not just in the past—but also in the future. Philip Ball, Scientific American, "Quantum Physics May Be Even Spookier Than You Think," 21 May 2018 Henrikson postulates that fire trees served two primary purposes for Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian peoples. Anchorage Daily News, "What made the hollowed out ‘fire trees’ of the Tongass? An artist turns investigator to find an answer," 23 June 2018 That dating rules out some of the names postulated as being the author, like Bacon, Da Vinci and Voynich himself. Jane Bracher, CNN, "The Voynich manuscript: Will this medieval mystery ever be solved?," 15 June 2018 Simply cultivating the arid soil, this theory postulated, will bring about permanent changes in the local climate, turning it more humid and thus favorable to crops. Johnforristerross, Longreads, "Taming the Great American Desert," 2 July 2018 Duffus postulates that Edward Beard left the settlement of Bath, North Carolina, around 1709 for bustling Philadelphia to be a sailor. John Bordsen, USA TODAY, "N.C.'s haul from ‘native son’ Blackbeard's 300th anniversary: Tourist gold," 22 June 2018 The Japanese scientists postulated that pinks, which have exploded in numbers since the early 1990s, had gobbled up many of the copepods. Ned Rozell, Anchorage Daily News, "Pink salmon — too much of a good thing?," 15 June 2018 Observers also postulate that hitters may have changed their approaches at the plate to hit more fly balls and take advantage of the fact that fly balls are now more likely to be home runs. Dan Gartland, SI.com, "MLB Study Concludes Changes to Ball Contributed to Home Run Surge," 24 May 2018 The next step will be that machines will postulate such models on their own and will verify and refine them based on empirical evidence. Kevin Hartnett, The Atlantic, "How a Pioneer of Machine Learning Became One of Its Sharpest Critics," 19 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Starting from these two postulates, Einstein showed that space and time are intertwined in ways that scientists had never previously realized. NBC News, "What is relativity? Einstein's mind-bending theory explained," 13 Apr. 2018

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

Verb

1605, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1590, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for postulate

Verb

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

Noun

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

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Last Updated

20 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for postulate

The first known use of postulate was in 1590

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More Definitions for postulate

postulate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of postulate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to suggest (something, such as an idea or theory) especially in order to start a discussion

postulate

noun

English Language Learners Definition of postulate (Entry 2 of 2)

: a statement that is accepted as being true and that is used as the basis of a theory, argument, etc.

postulate

noun
pos·tu·late | \ ˈpäs-chə-lət, -ˌlāt \

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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