postulate

verb
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)

postulate

noun
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

Verb

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?

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 The first person to postulate in concrete terms a spatially infinite universe seems to have been a 16th-century English mathematician and astronomer named Thomas Digges. Alan Lightman, The Atlantic, "‘It Seems That I Know How the Universe Originated’," 8 Feb. 2021 Woodward went on to postulate about what would have happened if a guest in the front row at Trump’s Sunday rally in Nevada, the first indoor rally for the campaign in months, would have sneezed. Zachary Halaschak, Washington Examiner, "'So easily transmissible': Trump recounts room-clearing sneeze in Woodward tape," 14 Sep. 2020 Darwin believed that the existence of order in nature does not require us to postulate a divine Orderer. Cameron Hilditch, National Review, "The American Misunderstanding of Natural Rights," 12 Aug. 2020 Experts postulate that some human trials may conclude in late 2020, but a vaccine won't arrive until spring 2021 at the earliest, and a majority won't be available until that fall. Zee Krstic, Good Housekeeping, "When Will a Coronavirus Vaccine Be Ready?," 18 July 2020 The training is based on a premise that the service postulated following the Vietnam War: In combat, a pilot's first 10 missions are the deadliest. Dan Lamothe, Anchorage Daily News, "In Interior Alaska, changes are coming in how the Air Force prepares for war," 14 May 2020 Hansen-Flaschen postulated that the man could have been born with some abnormality in his lymphatic system — a narrowing or blockage that caused the lymph fluid to back up and overflow into his lungs. Lisa Sanders, New York Times, "He Had Trouble Breathing, and Inhalers Didn’t Help. What Was Going On?," 12 Feb. 2020 Leading experts postulate that stringent social distancing initiatives could be extended in states into June. Zee Krstic, Good Housekeeping, "When Will Social Distancing Due to the Coronavirus End?," 1 Apr. 2020 Some postulated that, perhaps, this one-word change was the real aim: Down the road, the Kremlin could argue that the amendment had reset the term-limit counter, allowing Putin to stay in office for two additional six-year terms. Anton Troianovski, BostonGlobe.com, "Big changes? Or maybe not. Putin’s plans keep Russia guessing.," 21 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun At the heart of this particular puzzle lies a conflict between three fundamental postulates beloved by many physicists. Jennifer Ouellette, Quanta Magazine, "Alice and Bob Meet the Wall of Fire," 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, "What is relativity? Einstein's mind-bending theory explained," 13 Apr. 2018 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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Time Traveler for postulate

Time Traveler

The first known use of postulate was in 1590

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Last Updated

24 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Postulate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/postulate. Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for postulate

postulate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of postulate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

formal : 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)

formal : 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 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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Comments on postulate

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