from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Of, relating to, or based on theory.
  • adjective Restricted to theory; not practical or applied.
  • adjective Studying or working to develop theory.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • 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.
  • 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.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

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


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

[Late Latin theōrēticus, from Greek theōrētikos, from theōrētos, observable, from theōrein, to look at; see theorem.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From theoretic +‎ -al. Compare Latin theoreticus.



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