from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Of, relating to, or based on theory.
  • adj. Restricted to theory; not practical: theoretical physics.
  • adj. Given to theorizing; speculative.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Of or relating to theory; abstract; not empirical.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In chem., indicating the analytical values or other properties which should be obtained from a compound provided the correct conception (theory) of its composition has been formed.
  • Having the object of knowledge (θεωρητόν) as its end; concerned with knowledge only, not with accomplishing anything or producing anything; purely scientific; speculative.
  • Dealing with or making deductions from imperfect theory, and not correctly indicating the real facts as presenting themselves in experience.
  • In Kantian terminology, having reference to what is or is not true, as opposed to practical, or having reference to what ought or may innocently be done or left undone.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. concerned primarily with theories or hypotheses rather than practical considerations
  • adj. concerned with theories rather than their practical applications


Late Latin theōrēticus, from Greek theōrētikos, from theōrētos, observable, from theōrein, to look at; see theorem.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From theoretic +‎ -al. Compare Latin theoreticus. (Wiktionary)



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