Definition of theoretical adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˌθɪəˈretɪkl//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˌθiːəˈretɪkl//
    [usually before noun] Experiments and research
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  1. 1concerned with the ideas and principles on which a particular subject is based, rather than with practice and experiment a theoretical approach theoretical physics The first year provides students with a sound theoretical basis for later study. opposite experimental, practical See related entries: Experiments and research
  2. 2that could possibly exist, happen or be true, although this is unlikely It's a theoretical possibility.
  3. Extra examples Early analyses of evolution on the planet were highly theoretical. It’s a theoretical possibility. Most experiments take place within a theoretical framework. The emphasis of his lectures is on theoretical physics. The theoretical basis of the project was relatively straightforward. Theoretical knowledge forms the basis of most of our teaching. This study is by no means purely theoretical. We aim to provide you with both theoretical and practical knowledge of your subject.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: theoretical