• synonyms


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

First recorded in 1560–70; empiric + -al1
Related formsem·pir·i·cal·ly, adverbem·pir·i·cal·ness, nounan·ti·em·pir·i·cal, adjectivean·ti·em·pir·i·cal·ly, adverbnon·em·pir·i·cal, adjectivenon·em·pir·i·cal·ly, adverbo·ver·em·pir·i·cal, adjectiveo·ver·em·pir·i·cal·ly, adverbsem·i·em·pir·i·cal, adjectivesem·i·em·pir·i·cal·ly, adverbun·em·pir·i·cal, adjectiveun·em·pir·i·cal·ly, adverb

Synonyms for empirical

Antonyms for empirical

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for non-empirical

Historical Examples of non-empirical

  • But, in so doing, it accepted the particularism of experience and proceeded to supplement it from non-empirical sources.

    Creative Intelligence

    John Dewey, Addison W. Moore, Harold Chapman Brown, George H. Mead, Boyd H. Bode, Henry Waldgrave, Stuart James, Hayden Tufts, Horace M. Kallen

  • The proofs which Kant offers of them are, indeed, of a non-empirical a priori character.

  • Both thesis and antithesis may be true, the latter of the world of sense and the former of its non-empirical ground.

  • Those who deny the possibility of all non-empirical knowledge naturally hold that every axiom is ultimately based on observation.

British Dictionary definitions for non-empirical


  1. derived from or relating to experiment and observation rather than theory
  2. (of medical treatment) based on practical experience rather than scientific proof
  3. philosophy
    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)
  4. of or relating to medical quackery
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  1. statistics the posterior probability of an event derived on the basis of its observed frequency in a sampleCompare mathematical probability See also posterior probability
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Derived Formsempirically, 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

Word Origin and History for non-empirical



1560s, from empiric + -al (1).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

non-empirical in Medicine


  1. Relying on or derived from observation or experiment.
  2. Verifiable or provable by means of observation or experiment.
  3. Of or being a philosophy of medicine emphasizing practical experience and observation over scientific theory.
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Related formsem•piri•cal•ly adv.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

non-empirical in Science


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