[ em-pir-i-kuhl ]
/ ɛmˈpɪr ɪ kəl /


derived from or guided by experience or experiment.
depending upon experience or observation alone, without using scientific method or theory, especially as in medicine.
provable or verifiable by experience or experiment.

Origin of empirical

First recorded in 1560–70; empiric + -al1


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for empirical

British Dictionary definitions for empirical

/ (ɛmˈpɪrɪkəl) /


derived from or relating to experiment and observation rather than theory
(of medical treatment) based on practical experience rather than scientific proof
  1. (of knowledge) derived from experience rather than by logic from first principlesCompare a priori, a posteriori
  2. (of a proposition) subject, at least theoretically, to verificationCompare analytic (def. 4), synthetic (def. 4)
of or relating to medical quackery


statistics the posterior probability of an event derived on the basis of its observed frequency in a sampleCompare mathematical probability See also posterior probability

Derived forms of empirical

empirically, adverbempiricalness, noun
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

Medical definitions for empirical

[ ĕm-pîrĭ-kəl ]


Relying on or derived from observation or experiment.
Verifiable or provable by means of observation or experiment.
Of or being a philosophy of medicine emphasizing practical experience and observation over scientific theory.

Other words from empirical

em•piri•cal•ly adv.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Scientific definitions for empirical

[ ĕm-pîrĭ-kəl ]

Relying on or derived from observation or experiment.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.