Definition of theoretical in US English:

theoretical

adjective

  • 1Concerned with or involving the theory of a subject or area of study rather than its practical application.

    ‘a theoretical physicist’
    ‘the training is task-related rather than theoretical’
    • ‘These majors were too theoretical and impractical, so that it would have been hard to find a job.’
    • ‘Then he could acquire the practical skills to go with his theoretical knowledge.’
    • ‘His careful study of military affairs had been as much theoretical as practical.’
    • ‘The preceding chapters have been concerned with the theoretical sciences.’
    • ‘Oskar Klein died in Stockholm, one of the finest theoretical physicists of the twentieth century.’
    • ‘To do this it is helpful to detail briefly the theoretical framework within which these questions were grounded.’
    • ‘The two-hour sessions are split in half; the first theoretical, the second practical.’
    • ‘HNDs are much more vocational than degrees and can often be more practical rather than theoretical.’
    • ‘Excuse me for for butting in… But does it matter if a theoretical framework is unfalsifiable?’
    • ‘In addition to the theoretical course, he had four years' experience working with horses.’
    • ‘However he was also very active in applications of mathematics to theoretical physics.’
    • ‘The PR guy said she was tipped as one of the most brilliant theoretical physicists of her generation.’
    • ‘Studies up to that point were entirely theoretical and lacked any real practical application.’
    • ‘Another area of mathematics that is full of rough estimates is theoretical computer science.’
    • ‘Will there be no work left for theoretical physicists to do in the twenty-first century?’
    • ‘I guess I'm interested in this question more from a theoretical than practical standpoint.’
    • ‘This point is most clear in the area of theoretical science, though it has much broader application.’
    • ‘Zhukovskii was concerned both with theoretical and with experimental aspects of the subject.’
    • ‘In theoretical science, we have no reason to suppose that we are ever talking about anything.’
    not practical, conceptual, abstract, pure
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Based on or calculated through theory rather than experience or practice.
      ‘the theoretical value of their work’
      • ‘There is a strong theoretical and practical case for free trade and the economic benefits it brings.’
      • ‘These books will be exemplars of empirical study and theoretical understanding.’
      • ‘Freud constantly revised his theories in view of theoretical concerns and new data.’
      • ‘Now the lost work is regarded as a masterpiece with a theoretical value of £300,000.’
      • ‘And he also identified a desire to work on real rather than theoretical problems.’
      • ‘The session included experience-based, theoretical, and practical aspects.’
      • ‘Yet this trend raises a number of important issues, both theoretical and practical.’
      • ‘This is not to suggest that research is entirely dictated by theoretical concerns.’
      • ‘This is, of course, a theoretical calculation, but one which graphically illustrates the point.’
      • ‘The concerns of the literati were practical was well as theoretical.’
      • ‘Experimental tests with aquatic species have backed up the theoretical predictions.’
      • ‘Moreover the concern is an intensely practical one, rather than theoretical.’
      • ‘It takes real guts to stop being just a critic of the system and come up with solutions, both practical and theoretical.’
      • ‘Wilson's essay is desperately keen to convey her theoretical vision of the world.’
      • ‘Galen believed that medicine required both practical and theoretical elements.’
      • ‘For Marx the unity of theory and practice meant the resolution of theoretical problems by practical activity.’
      • ‘It also considers the theoretical and practical powers and constraints on a Prime Minister.’
      • ‘It is clear that Laurent was a good engineer, putting his deep theoretical knowledge to good practical use.’
      • ‘His basic research laid the foundation for many later theoretical and practical developments.’
      • ‘How wonderful it would be if all theoretical conclusion equated with the practical reality.’
      hypothetical, conjectural, academic, suppositional, speculative, notional, postulatory, conjectured, imagined, assumed, presumed, untested, unproven, unsubstantiated
      View synonyms

Pronunciation

theoretical

/THēəˈredək(ə)l//θiəˈrɛdək(ə)l/