Theory
Theory The"o*ry, n.; pl. {Theories}. [F. th['e]orie, L. theoria, Gr. ? a beholding, spectacle, contemplation, speculation, fr. ? a spectator, ? to see, view. See {Theater}.] 1. A doctrine, or scheme of things, which terminates in speculation or contemplation, without a view to practice; hypothesis; speculation. [1913 Webster]

Note: ``This word is employed by English writers in a very loose and improper sense. It is with them usually convertible into hypothesis, and hypothesis is commonly used as another term for conjecture. The terms theory and theoretical are properly used in opposition to the terms practice and practical. In this sense, they were exclusively employed by the ancients; and in this sense, they are almost exclusively employed by the Continental philosophers.'' --Sir W. Hamilton. [1913 Webster]

2. An exposition of the general or abstract principles of any science; as, the theory of music. [1913 Webster]

3. The science, as distinguished from the art; as, the theory and practice of medicine. [1913 Webster]

4. The philosophical explanation of phenomena, either physical or moral; as, Lavoisier's theory of combustion; Adam Smith's theory of moral sentiments. [1913 Webster]

{Atomic theory}, {Binary theory}, etc. See under {Atomic}, {Binary}, etc. [1913 Webster]

Syn: Hypothesis, speculation.

Usage: {Theory}, {Hypothesis}. A theory is a scheme of the relations subsisting between the parts of a systematic whole; an hypothesis is a tentative conjecture respecting a cause of phenomena. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Synonyms:

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  • theory — theo‧ry [ˈθɪəri ǁ ˈθiːəri] noun theories PLURALFORM 1. [countable] an idea or set of ideas that is intended to explain why something happens or how it works: theory of • The book is called An Evolutionary Theory of Economic Change . • The theory… …   Financial and business terms

  • theory — theory, social theory A theory is an account of the world which goes beyond what we can see and measure. It embraces a set of interrelated definitions and relationships that organizes our concepts of and understanding of the empirical world in a… …   Dictionary of sociology

  • theory — I noun assumption, belief, conjecture, doctrina, doctrine, dogma, guesswork, hypothesis, ideology, opinion, philosophy, postulate, presupposition, proposition, ratio, speculation, supposition, surmise, thesis, thought, untested opinion, view… …   Law dictionary

  • theory — [thē′ə rē, thir′ē] n. pl. theories [< Fr or LL: Fr théorie < LL theoria < Gr theōria, a looking at, contemplation, speculation, theory < theōrein: see THEOREM] 1. Obs. a mental viewing; contemplation 2. a speculative idea or plan as… …   English World dictionary

  • theory — ► NOUN (pl. theories) 1) a supposition or a system of ideas intended to explain something, especially one based on general principles independent of the thing to be explained. 2) an idea accounting for or justifying something. 3) a set of… …   English terms dictionary

  • theory — theory …   Philosophy dictionary

  • theory — (n.) 1590s, conception, mental scheme, from L.L. theoria (Jerome), from Gk. theoria contemplation, speculation, a looking at, things looked at, from theorein to consider, speculate, look at, from theoros spectator, from thea a view + horan to see …   Etymology dictionary

  • theory — *hypothesis, law Analogous words: judgment, conclusion, deduction, inference (see under INFER): postulate, presumption, assumption, presupposition (see under PRESUPPOSE) Antonyms: practice …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • theory — [n] hypothesis, belief approach, argument, assumption, base, basis, code, codification, concept, conditions, conjecture, doctrine, dogma, feeling, formularization, foundation, grounds, guess, guesswork, hunch, idea, ideology, impression, method,… …   New thesaurus

  • Theory — The word theory has many distinct meanings in different fields of knowledge, depending on their methodologies and the context of discussion.In science a theory is a testable model of the manner of interaction of a set of natural phenomena,… …   Wikipedia

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