Definition of postulate in US English:



[with object]
Pronunciation /ˈpäsCHəˌlāt//ˈpɑstʃəˌleɪt/
  • 1Suggest or assume the existence, fact, or truth of (something) as a basis for reasoning, discussion, or belief.

    ‘his theory postulated a rotatory movement for hurricanes’
    with clause ‘he postulated that the environmentalists might have a case’
    • ‘The authors postulated that this decrease is likely to be multifactorial.’
    • ‘A second theory postulates that when melatonin levels are depressed, female hormones are increased.’
    • ‘Considering all such factors, there seems no compelling reason to postulate the existence of a hitherto unknown creature in Lake Champlain.’
    • ‘She noted, moreover, that these laws sometimes provide good grounds for claims about the existence of the causal entities postulated by a theory.’
    • ‘Attachment theory postulates that bonds with parents have an important bearing on future relationships.’
    • ‘My reason for writing this is not to postulate a gloom-and-doom scenario but to suggest that we be prepared to react to an enemy game plan that may be different from our own.’
    • ‘The authors postulated that the reasons might have had something to do with productivity.’
    • ‘As a result, researchers now postulate that serotonin may have a role in regulating prolactin secretion.’
    • ‘The radical scavenging mechanism postulated above could, therefore, be another mechanism of action.’
    • ‘Another reason for postulating the existence of such superstructures is some evidence of anomalous membrane roughness suggested by studies of membrane adhesion.’
    • ‘Furthermore, the model postulates that individuals vary in their propensity for both excitation and inhibition.’
    • ‘We also postulated that there could be different protein isoforms that correlated with these temporal and spatial transcripts.’
    • ‘On this basis, we have postulated two scenarios for the future of energy.’
    • ‘Conserved residues within the compact protein cores have been postulated to be critical for protein folding.’
    • ‘This effect was postulated to provide a basis for the toxicity of such compounds.’
    • ‘Thus, the theory postulates that inertial and gravitational masses are fundamentally the same thing.’
    • ‘Many philosophers treat the beliefs and desires postulated by folk psychology as brain states with symbolic contents.’
    • ‘Early Greek science postulated the existence of a primordial element as the foundation of the material universe.’
    • ‘Some researchers postulate that reserves of liquid water still exist underground.’
    • ‘Weber, like Bergson, stopped just short of postulating the existence of the unconscious.’
    put forward, suggest, advance, posit, hypothesize, take as a hypothesis, propose, assume, presuppose, suppose, presume, predicate, take for granted, theorize
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  • 2(in ecclesiastical law) nominate or elect (someone) to an ecclesiastical office subject to the sanction of a higher authority.


Pronunciation /ˈpɑstʃələt//ˈpäsCHələt/
  • 1A thing suggested or assumed as true as the basis for reasoning, discussion, or belief.

    ‘perhaps the postulate of Babylonian influence on Greek astronomy is incorrect’
    • ‘Nevertheless, Kant accepted the traditional claims of theology, and even tried to resuscitate them under the obscure doctrine of the postulates of practical reason.’
    • ‘On Russell's view, the knowing involved in knowledge of the postulates is a kind of animal knowing, which arises as habitual beliefs from the experience of interaction with the world.’
    • ‘The barium-flame-colour generalization is a deductive consequence of the postulates of atomic theory.’
    • ‘But this is not to suggest that Hebb's influence was just his postulates related to synaptic change.’
    • ‘There are still tons of unanswered questions in the field of infectious disease, and as we learn more, we find it's not always as simple and straightforward as Koch's postulates suggest.’
    hypothesis, thesis, conjecture, supposition, speculation, postulation, postulate, proposition, premise, surmise, assumption, presumption, presupposition, notion, guess, hunch, feeling, suspicion
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    1. 1.1Mathematics An assumption used as a basis for mathematical reasoning.
      • ‘Since Euclid's axiomatic formulation of geometry mathematicians had been trying to prove his fifth postulate as a theorem deduced from the other four axioms.’
      • ‘Now the problem which had perplexed Bolyai most in his study of mathematics had been the independence of Euclid's Fifth postulate.’
      • ‘As we saw in Chapter 6, 2-4, the plan to identify each branch of mathematics with a single postulate system failed, at least when it comes to describing deductive mathematical practice.’
      • ‘In the same sense that a Cartesian geometry specifies certain axioms, definitions, and postulates as the basis for a formal geometry, an ivory-tower geometry.’
      • ‘In his work on proofs of the parallel postulate, al-Nayrizi quotes work by a mathematician named Aghanis.’
      • ‘The work of Bolyai and Lobachevsky are comparable in that sense, that they both challenge axiomatic assumptions, but their postulates are of Euclidean geometry.’


Late Middle English (in postulate (sense 2 of the verb)): from Latin postulat- ‘asked’, from the verb postulare.