Word of the Day : March 6, 2017

postulate

play
verb PAHSS-chuh-layt

Definition

1 : demand, claim

2 a : to assume or claim as true, existent, or necessary

b : to assume as an axiom or as a hypothesis advanced as an essential presupposition, condition, or premise of a train of reasoning (as in logic or mathematics)

Examples

"Some postulate that the moment when machines surpass humans in intelligence may not be that far off." — Vicky Allan, The Sunday Herald (Glasgow), 22 Jan. 2017

"[Dr. Kevin] Tracey, a neurosurgeon, scientist and inventor, first advanced what seemed a radical hypothesis in the late 1990s: He postulated that the vagus nerve is intimately involved in the function of the immune system." — Delthia Ricks, Newsday, 3 Jan. 2017



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."



Name That Synonym

What 5-letter word beginning with "p" is a synonym of postulate that can also mean "to set firmly"?

VIEW THE ANSWER

Podcast


More Words of the Day

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!