View synonyms for hypothetical


[ hahy-puh-thet-i-kuhl ]


  1. assumed or entertained as a theoretical possibility, invented example, premise for argument’s sake, etc.; supposed:

    In the hypothetical case that you miss your flight or it is delayed, you will need a contingency plan.

    Synonyms: speculative, theoretical, supposition, academic

  2. relating to or characterized by the use of assumptions for argument’s sake or of provisional, informed conjectures to guide investigation:

    Science depends on hypothetical reasoning.

  3. Logic.
    1. (of a proposition) highly conjectural; not well supported by available evidence.
    2. (of a proposition or syllogism) conditional ( def 3 ).
  4. tending to resort to theoretical assumptions, conditional propositions, invented examples, etc., especially unrealistic ones; speculative:

    His stuff is fun to read, but he’s so hypothetical I can’t take him seriously.

    Stop the worry spiral in your mind before your thoughts become too hypothetical.


  1. a hypothetical situation, instance, etc.:

    The Secretary of Defense refused to discuss hypotheticals with the reporters.


/ ˌhaɪpəˈθɛtɪkəl /


  1. having the nature of a hypothesis
  2. assumed or thought to exist
  3. logic another word for conditional
  4. existing only as an idea or concept

    a time machine is a hypothetical device

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Derived Forms

  • ˌhypoˈthetically, adverb

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Other Words From

  • hy·po·thet·i·cal·ly adverb
  • un·hy·po·thet·i·cal adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of hypothetical1

First recorded in 1580–90; from Greek hypothetik(ós) “supposed” ( hypo- hypo- + the- “placed, put,” base of tithénai “to place, put, set”) + -tikos -tic ) + -al 1

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Example Sentences

Many were unwilling to bear the present-day cost of preparing for future hypotheticals.

From Fortune

For example, says Pérez Ríos, positronium’s energy levels could be affected by a hypothetical axion-like particle.

Many of these ideas attempt to recast gravity in the language of quantum mechanics, where hypothetical particles called gravitons carry the gravitational force.

Titled “What I would do with GPT-3 if I had no ethics,” it described his process as a hypothetical.

The XENON1T team suggested that the low-energy events could be due to solar axions, hypothetical particles with no electric charge that could be produced in the sun.

Not because she disagrees with a hypothetical future president, or because she simply likes the robe.

It's a long trip, to be sure, illustrated here with the hypothetical slang "couch."

A hypothetical history of how words become part of the colloquial lexicon.

Really, that fear factor is an indictment of who we are—not an indictment of some hypothetical alien species.

But Jamelle,” asks a hypothetical objector, “How would we keep government spending in check?

He called them all "Mister," and occasionally flattered them by presenting a hypothetical case for their consideration.

In the preceding example the two together form a complete and consistent, though hypothetical, explanation of the facts concerned.

It was a hypothetical condition which he had never even considered.

We must besides remark that the meaning of the lines is purely hypothetical.

This is a matter which I cannot discuss further, more especially in view of the fact that the whole idea is too hypothetical.





hypothesizehypothetical imperative