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[thee-uh-ret-i-kuh l] /ˌθi əˈrɛt ɪ kəl/
of, relating to, or consisting in theory; not practical (distinguished from applied).
existing only in theory; hypothetical.
given to, forming, or dealing with theories; speculative.
Often, theoretic.
Origin of theoretical
1610-20; theoretic (< Late Latin theōrēticus < Greek theōrētikós, equivalent to theōrēt(ós) to be seen (verbid of theōreîn to view) + -ikos -ic) + -al1
Related forms
theoretically, adverb
antitheoretical, adjective
antitheoretically, adverb
nontheoretic, adjective
nontheoretical, adjective
nontheoretically, adverb
untheoretic, adjective
untheoretical, adjective
untheoretically, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for theoretic
Historical Examples
  • His son Michael had no thoroughness, no practical ability, and no grasp whatever of theoretic detail.

    The Tree of Heaven May Sinclair
  • Its own theoretic level, or at least the quest for a theory, is discarded as frivolous.

  • Their citation in support of the thesis of Church opposition to science, theoretic or applied, is entirely without justification.

    The Popes and Science James J. Walsh
  • This theoretic inference is completely verified by experiment.

  • Nevertheless, these theoretic calculations were somewhat disconcerted by the energy of the defence.

    Annals of a Fortress E. Viollet-le-Duc
  • These theoretic subtleties were unintelligible to the people of France.

    Lectures on the French Revolution John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton
  • I can only, then, discuss the proposed policy on its theoretic merits.

  • Speculative or theoretic knowledge is divided into abstract and concrete.

  • And now we find what noble sympathy and unity there is between the imaginative and theoretic faculties.

  • theoretic and practical cannot be isolated from one another.

    Beauty and the Beast Stewart A. McDowall
British Dictionary definitions for theoretic


another word for theoretical
another word for theoretics


of or based on theory
lacking practical application or actual existence; hypothetical
using or dealing in theory; impractical
Derived Forms
theoretically, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for theoretic



1610s, from Late Latin theoreticus "of or pertaining to theory," from Greek theoretikos "contemplative, pertaining to theory" (by Aristotle contrasted to praktikos), from theoretos "that may be seen or considered," from theorein "to consider, look at" (see theory). Related: Theoretically.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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theoretic in Medicine

theoretical the·o·ret·i·cal (thē'ə-rět'ĭ-kəl)

  1. Of, relating to, or based on theory.

  2. Restricted to theory; not practical.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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