thought experiment


Definition of thought experiment

Examples of thought experiment in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Tomkins's team found the Earth's oldest meteorites after an interesting (and frankly ingenious) thought experiment. William Herkewitz, Popular Mechanics, "These Are The Oldest Meteorites Ever Discovered," 11 May 2016 Life without Steph Curry and a playoff thought experiment. Andrew Sharp,, "NBA Playoff Talking Points: Life Without Steph, the Westbrook Rule and More," 27 Apr. 2018 Hypotheticals and thought experiments metastasize across the pages of publications while harassment and retaliation remain. Alex Press, Vox, "What’s next for #MeToo? The McDonald’s strikes have an answer.," 18 Sep. 2018 This isn’t just some academic exercise or thought experiment. James Fishkin, WSJ, "Yes, Ordinary Citizens Can Decide Complex Issues," 3 Aug. 2018 The challenge of creating a device that looks and functions like a real lightsaber has long been the subject of practical and thought experiments. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "This Real-Life Flaming Lightsaber Is About As Real As It Gets," 18 Dec. 2015 For this thought experiment, one of them is habitable enough to potentially host life. John Wenz, Popular Mechanics, "How Life Could Survive on an 'Interstellar' Black Hole Planet," 19 Jan. 2016 One of the Microsoft Aether group’s thought experiments illustrates the conundrum. Jonathan Vanian, Fortune, "Unmasking A.I.'s Bias Problem," 25 June 2018 No matter what happens, this thought experiment proffers, someone is going to die. Betsy Morais, Longreads, "The Menace and the Promise of Autonomous Vehicles," 13 June 2018

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

1854, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

22 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for thought experiment

The first known use of thought experiment was in 1854

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Comments on thought experiment

What made you want to look up thought experiment? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a strong desire or propensity

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