hy·​po·​thet·​i·​cal ˌhī-pə-ˈthe-ti-kəl How to pronounce hypothetical (audio)
: involving or being based on a suggested idea or theory : being or involving a hypothesis : conjectural
hypothetical arguments
a hypothetical situation
hypothetical noun

Example Sentences

She described a hypothetical case to clarify her point. we talked about what we would do in various hypothetical emergencies
Recent Examples on the Web If an outsider came to practice, Saban said, the Alabama opponent on Saturday should be indiscernible to this hypothetical viewer because the prep for Austin Peay should be no different from the Iron Bowl. Michael Casagrande | Mcasagrande@al.com, al, 19 Nov. 2022 Visit the #topic-of-the-week channel to discuss issues like democracy in space and the hypothetical Planet 9. WIRED, 19 Nov. 2022 Or if Bankman-Fried had sought to mislead a hypothetical board, would competent directors have seen through the ruse? Lila Maclellan, Fortune, 18 Nov. 2022 In fact, that’s how Hou got his start in this area: Several of his earlier results disproved the formation of hypothetical singularities. Jordana Cepelewicz, Quanta Magazine, 16 Nov. 2022 Basically, the idea is that it’s not the federal courts’ job to answer hypothetical questions or resolve policy disputes. Steve Vladeck, CNN, 12 Nov. 2022 Georgia to win out through November, increasing the value of that hypothetical conference championship; Tennessee to lose, removing that potential obstacle come early December. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, 10 Nov. 2022 Throughout his career, Vonnegut wrote about hypothetical technologies that foresaw not just emergent fields of science such as artificial intelligence and geoengineering, but the ways in which culture and politics shape their effect on society. Byzack Savitsky, science.org, 10 Nov. 2022 Still, in a hypothetical 2024 ballot between Messrs. Biden and Trump, the current president is supported by only 50% of Hispanic voters, who are especially sensitive to economic conditions. William A. Galston, WSJ, 8 Nov. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hypothetical.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

1588, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of hypothetical was in 1588

Dictionary Entries Near hypothetical

Cite this Entry

“Hypothetical.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hypothetical. Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition



hy·​po·​thet·​i·​cal ˌhi-pə-ˈthet-i-kəl How to pronounce hypothetical (audio)
: involving a hypothesis or the making of assumptions : assumed
: imagined for purposes of example
a hypothetical case
hypothetically adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on hypothetical

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