# Definition:Hypothesis

## Definition

A **hypothesis** is a statement that is made whose truth value has not been established, but which is *believed* to be true.

The underlying idea is that its truth or falsehood is **about to be investigated**.

A hypothesis is considered by some branches of philosophy as being synonymous with the words **wild guess**[1].

Possibly the most famous still-unproved hypothesis is the Riemann Hypothesis.

## Also defined as

Some sources use the word **hypothesis** for a premise.

Some use **hypothesis** to mean antecedent in the context of a conditional statement.

## Also known as

The word **supposition** is also found.

The word **conjecture** is frequently encountered, usually in the context of a statement whose truth value has remained unresolved for a considerable time after the passing of the one who first raised the question.

However, this usage is inconsistent.

The term **open question** is also encountered, usually in the context in which there is no evidence in either direction as to whether the statement is true or false.

## Also see

## Linguistic Note

The word **hypothesis** comes from the Greek for **supposition**, literally **to put under**, that is **sub-position**.

The idea is that one **puts an idea under scrutiny**.

Its plural is **hypotheses** where the last syllable is pronounced *sees*.

The verb **hypothesize** (British English: **hypothesise**) means **to make a hypothesis**, that is, **to suppose**.

The adjective **hypothetical** means **having the nature of a hypothesis**.

A **hypothetical question** is a question which relates to a situation that is supposed (or pretended) to be imaginary. One would, for example, announce that a question about to be posed is *hypothetical* if the questioner wishes to be believed to be at some distance from the possibility of actually being the subject of the question.

*As a purely***hypothetical question**, what would the fate be of a student who had been found to have cheated in his examinations?

## Sources

- 1998: David Nelson:
*The Penguin Dictionary of Mathematics*(2nd ed.) ... (previous) ... (next): Entry:**conjecture (hypothesis)** - 1998: David Nelson:
*The Penguin Dictionary of Mathematics*(2nd ed.) ... (previous) ... (next): Entry:**hypothesis** - 2008: David Nelson:
*The Penguin Dictionary of Mathematics*(4th ed.) ... (previous) ... (next): Entry:**conjecture (hypothesis)** - 2008: David Nelson:
*The Penguin Dictionary of Mathematics*(4th ed.) ... (previous) ... (next): Entry:**hypothesis**

- Weisstein, Eric W. "Hypothesis." From
*MathWorld*--A Wolfram Web Resource. https://mathworld.wolfram.com/Hypothesis.html