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 postulation (audio) \ noun
postulational \ ˌpäs-​chə-​ˈlā-​shnəl How to pronounce postulational (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

That relationship, and some other patterns Grant and Ghannam postulated, was the basis for part of Grant's presentation at Black Hat—and for Crown Sterling's whole cryptography play. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "Snake oil or genius? Crown Sterling tells its side of Black Hat controversy," 29 Aug. 2019 That ability to expand, combined with additional flexibility from postulated extra dimensions, makes strings fluff up when enough of them are packed into a small space. Quanta Magazine, "Black Hole Firewalls Could Be Too Tepid to Burn," 22 Aug. 2018 Colbert immediately asked a follow-up question that many Democrats in Texas have been postulating for weeks: Why doesn't Beto try to unseat Republican Senator John Cornyn in 2020? Peter Dawson, Houston Chronicle, "Stephen Colbert asks Beto O'Rourke to drop White House bid, run for Senate seat in Texas," 13 June 2019 That finding led the researchers to postulate that the difference arose before birth and reflected hormone levels in the womb. Mitch Leslie, Science | AAAS, "Talk to the hand. Scientists try to debunk idea that finger length can reveal personality and health," 6 June 2019 Rather, the authors postulated, much of the decrease was due to young men carving out more time for one technology in particular: video games. Lucinda Shen, Fortune, "Why Sony and Nintendo Stocks Could Rack Up Higher Scores," 19 Jan. 2018 Albright said intelligence agencies had already postulated the existence of the plant, in part because of North Korea’s known efforts to purchase key components. Joby Warrick, Washington Post, "Summit collapse foils chance to press North Korea on suspicious sites," 25 May 2018 Other less frantic speculation postulated that it could be used to examine other sats in orbit, either Russia’s or those operated by geopolitical foes. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "Space Junk Could Provide a Perfect Hiding Spot for Tiny Spy Satellites," 30 Nov. 2018 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

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 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

6 Sep 2019

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)

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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