adjective Also hy·po·thet·ic (for defs 1–4).

assumed by hypothesis; supposed: a hypothetical case.
of, pertaining to, involving, or characterized by hypothesis: hypothetical reasoning.
given to making hypotheses.
  1. (of a proposition) highly conjectural; not well supported by available evidence.
  2. (of a proposition or syllogism) conditional.


a hypothetical situation, instance, etc.: The Secretary of Defense refused to discuss hypotheticals with the reporters.

Origin of hypothetical

1580–90; < Greek hypothetik(ós) supposed (hypo- hypo- + the- put (base of tithénai to put, do1) + -tikos -tic) + -al1
Related formshy·po·thet·i·cal·ly, adverbun·hy·po·thet·i·cal, adjectiveun·hy·po·thet·i·cal·ly, adverb

Synonyms for hypothetical

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hypothetically

Contemporary Examples of hypothetically

  • One group of “Anons” could be pro-choice, another pro-life—at least hypothetically.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Anonymous’s Next Move

    Winston Ross

    April 17, 2013

  • So instead of going (hypothetically) to $71,000 from $69,000, it would go to $70,000.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Chained CPI and Votes in the House

    Michael Tomasky

    December 18, 2012

  • In other words, a Palestinian from Susya could, hypothetically, apply for a permit on the 5% off-chance that it will be accepted.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Why Susya is "Illegal"

    Moriel Rothman

    June 20, 2012

  • Palin could hypothetically skip the debates and any national interviews with anyone other than Sean Hannity or Glenn Beck.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Sarah Palin's Media Strategy

    Meghan McCain

    November 22, 2010

  • "For example, in my business GPS tracking units could hypothetically be used in a divorce proceeding," DiFinis explains.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The GPS Murderer

    Jeff Deeney

    July 10, 2010

Historical Examples of hypothetically

  • Hypothetically considered, the situation was not extraneously alarming.

    The Shriek

    Charles Somerville

  • But, hypothetically, if it were to happen, what would the reaction be?

    Tape Jockey

    Tom Leahy

  • Such a moment should at least hypothetically be granted to exist.

    The Reform of Education

    Giovanni Gentile

  • Hypothetically, that death was due to natural causes—hypothetically!

    In Jeopardy

    Van Tassel Sutphen

  • The explication of inflection, mechanically and hypothetically: what Bodies have such an inflection.


    Robert Hooke

British Dictionary definitions for hypothetically




having the nature of a hypothesis
assumed or thought to exist
logic another word for conditional (def. 4)
existing only as an idea or concepta time machine is a hypothetical device
Derived Formshypothetically, 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

Word Origin and History for hypothetically



1580s, from Greek hypothetikos "pertaining to a hypothesis," from hypothesis (see hypothesis). Related: Hypothetically; hypothetic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper