Definition:Hypothesis/Linguistic Note

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Linguistic Note on Hypothesis

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?