• synonyms


[thee-uh-ret-i-kuh l]
See more synonyms for theoretical on Thesaurus.com
  1. of, relating to, or consisting in theory; not practical (distinguished from applied).
  2. existing only in theory; hypothetical.
  3. given to, forming, or dealing with theories; speculative.
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Often the·o·ret·ic.

Origin of theoretical

1610–20; theoretic (< Late Latin theōrēticus < Greek theōrētikós, equivalent to theōrēt(ós) to be seen (verbid of theōreîn to view) + -ikos -ic) + -al1
Related formsthe·o·ret·i·cal·ly, adverban·ti·the·o·ret·i·cal, adjectivean·ti·the·o·ret·i·cal·ly, adverbnon·the·o·ret·ic, adjectivenon·the·o·ret·i·cal, adjectivenon·the·o·ret·i·cal·ly, adverbun·the·o·ret·ic, adjectiveun·the·o·ret·i·cal, adjectiveun·the·o·ret·i·cal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for theoretically

apparently, probably, hypothetically

Examples from the Web for theoretically

Contemporary Examples of theoretically

Historical Examples of theoretically

  • That is, theoretically we may ascribe them to God, but practically we dissociate Him from them.

  • Being a woman, she should, theoretically, have disliked and despised him for this.

    Roden's Corner

    Henry Seton Merriman

  • One-man power is (theoretically) greatly feared, in America.

    Blood and Iron

    John Hubert Greusel

  • And as a philosopher he was right; theoretically it would be possible.

    Common Science

    Carleton W. Washburne

  • Theoretically, we do what we please so long as we do not interfere with the traffic and all it implies.

    With The Night Mail

    Rudyard Kipling

British Dictionary definitions for theoretically


theoretic (ˌθɪəˈrɛtɪk)

  1. of or based on theory
  2. lacking practical application or actual existence; hypothetical
  3. using or dealing in theory; impractical
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Derived Formstheoretically, 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 theoretically



1610s, from Late Latin theoreticus "of or pertaining to theory," from Greek theoretikos "contemplative, pertaining to theory" (by Aristotle contrasted to praktikos), from theoretos "that may be seen or considered," from theorein "to consider, look at" (see theory). Related: Theoretically.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

theoretically in Medicine


  1. Of, relating to, or based on theory.
  2. Restricted to theory; not practical.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.