Recorded since 1596, from Middle French hypothese, from Late Latin hypothesis, from Ancient Greek ὑπόθεσις (hupóthesis, “base, basis of an argument, supposition”, literally “a placing under”), itself from ὑποτίθημι (hupotíthēmi, “I set before, suggest”), from ὑπό (hupó, “below”) + τίθημι (títhēmi, “I put, place”).
hypothesis (plural hypotheses)
- (sciences) Used loosely, a tentative conjecture explaining an observation, phenomenon or scientific problem that can be tested by further observation, investigation and/or experimentation. As a scientific term of art, see the attached quotation. Compare to theory, and quotation given there.
- 2001 September 27, Terrie E. Moffitt; Avshalom Caspi; Michael Rutter; Phil A. Silva, Sex Differences in Antisocial Behaviour: Conduct Disorder, Delinquency, and Violence in the Dunedin Longitudinal Study, Cambridge University Press, →ISBN, page 151:
- This hypothesis goes by many names, including group resistence, the threshold effect, and the gender paradox. Because the hypothesis holds such wide appeal, it is worth revisiting the logic behind it. The hypothesis is built on the factual observation that fewer females than males act antisocially.
- 2005, Ronald H. Pine, http://www.csicop.org/specialarticles/show/intelligent_design_or_no_model_creationism, 15 October 2005:
- Far too many of us have been taught in school that a scientist, in the course of trying to figure something out, will first come up with a "hypothesis" (a guess or surmise—not necessarily even an "educated" guess). ... [But t]he word "hypothesis" should be used, in science, exclusively for a reasoned, sensible, knowledge-informed explanation for why some phenomenon exists or occurs. An hypothesis can be as yet untested; can have already been tested; may have been falsified; may have not yet been falsified, although tested; or may have been tested in a myriad of ways countless times without being falsified; and it may come to be universally accepted by the scientific community. An understanding of the word "hypothesis," as used in science, requires a grasp of the principles underlying Occam's Razor and Karl Popper's thought in regard to "falsifiability"—including the notion that any respectable scientific hypothesis must, in principle, be "capable of" being proven wrong (if it should, in fact, just happen to be wrong), but none can ever be proved to be true. One aspect of a proper understanding of the word "hypothesis," as used in science, is that only a vanishingly small percentage of hypotheses could ever potentially become a theory.
- (general) An assumption taken to be true for the purpose of argument or investigation.
- (grammar) The antecedent of a conditional statement.
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.
- (Classical) IPA(key): /hyˈpo.tʰe.sis/, [hʏˈpɔ.t̪ʰɛ.sɪs]
- (Ecclesiastical) IPA(key): /iˈpo.te.sis/, [iˈpɔː.t̪ɛ.zis]
Third-declension noun (Greek-type, i-stem, i-stem).
1Found sometimes in Medieval and New Latin.