[ thee-uh-ret-i-kuhl ]
/ ˌθi əˈrɛt ɪ kəl /
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See synonyms for: theoretical / theoretically on Thesaurus.com


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.



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“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

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Often the·o·ret·ic [thee-uh-ret-ik] /ˌθi əˈrɛt ɪk/ .

Origin of theoretical

First recorded in 1610–20; theoretic, from Late Latin theōrēticus, from Greek theōrētikós, equivalent to theōrēt(ós) “to be seen” (verbal adjective derived from theōreîn “to view”) + -ikos -ic;see -al1

OTHER WORDS FROM theoretical

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for theoretical

British Dictionary definitions for theoretical


theoretic (ˌθɪəˈrɛtɪk)

/ (ˌθɪəˈrɛtɪkəl) /


of or based on theory
lacking practical application or actual existence; hypothetical
using or dealing in theory; impractical

Derived forms of theoretical

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

Medical definitions for theoretical

[ thē′ə-rĕtĭ-kəl ]


Of, relating to, or based on theory.
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.