Find the word definition

Crossword clues for hypotheses

The Collaborative International Dictionary

Hypothesis \Hy*poth"e*sis\, n.; pl. Hypotheses. [NL., fr. Gr. ? foundation, supposition, fr. ? to place under, ? under + ? to put. See Hypo-, Thesis.]

  1. A supposition; a proposition or principle which is supposed or taken for granted, in order to draw a conclusion or inference for proof of the point in question; something not proved, but assumed for the purpose of argument, or to account for a fact or an occurrence; as, the hypothesis that head winds detain an overdue steamer.

    An hypothesis being a mere supposition, there are no other limits to hypotheses than those of the human imagination.
    --J. S. Mill.

  2. (Natural Science) A tentative theory or supposition provisionally adopted to explain certain facts, and to guide in the investigation of others; hence, frequently called a working hypothesis.

    Syn: Supposition; assumption. See Theory.

    Nebular hypothesis. See under Nebular.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

plural of hypothesis.


n. (plural of hypothesis English)

  1. n. a proposal intended to explain certain facts or observations

  2. a tentative theory about the natural world; a concept that is not yet verified but that if true would explain certain facts or phenomena; "a scientific hypothesis that survives experimental testing becomes a scientific theory"; "he proposed a fresh theory of alkalis that later was accepted in chemical practices" [syn: possibility, theory]

  3. a message expressing an opinion based on incomplete evidence [syn: guess, conjecture, supposition, surmise, surmisal, speculation]

  4. [also: hypotheses (pl)]


Usage examples of "hypotheses".

It counsels us to carry alternative hypotheses in our heads and see which best fit the facts.

If they are not that, they would become mere fictions the possibility of which is quite indemonstrable, and which, therefore, can never be employed as hypotheses for the explanation of real phenomena.

If, for that purpose, we have to call in the aid of supplementary hypotheses, they rouse the suspicion of a mere fiction, because each of them requires for itself the same justification as the fundamental idea, and cannot serve therefore as a sufficient witness.

But if we consider what seem to us at least deviations and evils in nature, new hypotheses will be required in order to save the first hypothesis from the objections which it has to encounter.

In the same manner, whenever the simple independence of the human soul, which has been admitted in order to account for all its phenomena, is called into question on account of the difficulties arising from phenomena similar to the changes of matter (growth and decay), new hypotheses have to be called in, which may seem plausible, but possess no authority, except what they derive from the opinion which was to yield the chief explanation, and which they themselves were called upon to defend.

He is clearly entitled, as it were in self-defence, to use the same weapons in support of his own good cause, which the opponent uses against it, that is, to employ hypotheses, which are not intended to strengthen the arguments in favour of his own view, but only to show that the opponent knows far too little of the subject under discussion to flatter himself that he possesses any advantage over us, so far as speculative insight is concerned.

The hypotheses, however, which we have just been discussing are problematical judgments only, which, at least, cannot be refuted, though they can neither be proved by anything.

The one described, however, possesses nothing more than hypotheses on the subject of himself, hypotheses that may be of interest as the products of his mind but that do not necessarily serve as those missing pieces.

Of the hypotheses we tried, one after another, practically nothing is said there.

Those who study physics are not burdened with information about what incorrect, imprecise hypotheses, what false notions, were advanced by its creators.

From the mystery we chipped off a few slivers of fact, but when they did not increase, or amount to any solid edifice that could correct our hypotheses, the hypotheses began gradually to assume the upper hand, and in the end we wandered lost in a wilderness of conjectures, of conjectures based upon conjectures.

None of us knows, therefore, to what extent we were the instruments of an objective analysis, to what extent the delegates of humanity (in that we have been shaped by and are typical of our society), and to what extent, finally, each of us represented only himself, with the inspiration for his hypotheses about the contents of the "letter" being supplied by his own -- possibly raving, possibly wounded -- psyche in its uncontrolled regions.

Frog Eggs became the foundation for an edifice of hypotheses -- a veritable Tower of Babel of hypotheses, unfortunately, because of the disparity between them.

According to another group, or family, of hypotheses (because the ideas of each circle were connected by their own consanguinity), the code described not an "individual" of any sort, but an "informational machine" -- a type of tool rather than a representative of the race that transmitted it.

Some of the hypotheses were even highly ingenious -- that, for example, the letter worked "on two levels.