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From empiric +‎ -al.


  • IPA(key): /ɪmˈpɪɹɪkəl/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: em‧pi‧ri‧cal


empirical (comparative more empirical, superlative most empirical)

  1. Pertaining to or based on experience (often, in contrast with having a basis in theoretical explanation).
    Antonym: theoretical
    The lengths were calculated according to the empirical rules of the trade.
    For some presumptive diagnoses, empirical antibiotic therapy begins immediately, whereas specific antibiotic therapy must await the results of the culture and sensitivity test.
    • 1861, Herbert Spencer, Education:
      The village carpenter [] lays out his work by empirical rules learnt in his apprenticeship.
  2. Pertaining to, derived from, or testable by observations made using the physical senses or using instruments which extend the senses.
  3. (philosophy of science) Verifiable by means of scientific experimentation.
    Antonyms: anecdotal, theoretical
    demonstrable with empirical evidence



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