• WordNet 3.6
    • n hypothesis a tentative insight into the natural world; a concept that is not yet verified but that if true would explain certain facts or phenomena "a scientific hypothesis that survives experimental testing becomes a scientific theory","he proposed a fresh theory of alkalis that later was accepted in chemical practices"
    • n hypothesis a message expressing an opinion based on incomplete evidence
    • n hypothesis a proposal intended to explain certain facts or observations
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Hypothesis A supposition; a proposition or principle which is supposed or taken for granted, in order to draw a conclusion or inference for proof of the point in question; something not proved, but assumed for the purpose of argument, or to account for a fact or an occurrence; as, the hypothesis that head winds detain an overdue steamer. "An hypothesis being a mere supposition, there are no other limits to hypotheses than those of the human imagination."
    • Hypothesis (Natural Science) A tentative theory or supposition provisionally adopted to explain certain facts, and to guide in the investigation of others; hence, frequently called a working hypothesis.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • hypothesis A condition; that from which something follows: as, freedom is the hypothesis of democracy.
    • hypothesis A proposition assumed and taken for granted, to be used as a premise in proving something else; a postulate.
    • hypothesis A supposition; a judgment concerning an imaginary state of things, or the imaginary state of things itself concerning whose consequences some statement is made or question is asked; the antecedent of a conditional proposition; the proposition disproved by reductio ad absurdum.
    • hypothesis The conclusion of an argument from consequent and antecedent; a proposition held to be probably true because itsconsequences, according to known general principles, are found to be true; the supposition that an object has a certain character, from which it would necessarily follow that it must possess other characters which it is observed to possess. The word has always been applied in this sense to theories of the planetary system. Kepler held the hypothesis that Mars moves in an elliptical orbit with the sun in one focus, describing equal areas in equal times, the ellipse having a certain size, shape, and situation, and the perihelion being reached at a certain epoch. Of the three coördinates of the planet's position, two, determining its apparent position, were directly observed, but the third, its varying distance from the earth, was the subject of hypothesis. The hypothesis of Kepler was adopted because it made the apparent places just what they were observed to be. A hypothesis is of the general nature of an inductive conclusion, but it differs from an induction proper in that it involves no generalization, and in that it alfords an explanation of observed facts according to known general principles. The distinction between induction and hypothesis is illustrated by the process of deciphering a despatch written in a secret alphabet. A statistical investigation will show that in English writing, in general, the letter e occurs far more frequently than any other; this general proposition is an induction from the particular cases examined. If now the despatch to be deciphered is found to contain 26 characters or less, one of which occurs much more frequently than any of the others, the probable explanation is that each character stands for a letter, and the most frequent one for e: this is hypothesis. At the outset, this is a hypothesis not only in the present sense, but also in that of being a provisional theory insufficiently supported. As the process of deciphering proceeds, however, the inferences become more and more probable, until practical certainty is attained. Still the nature of the evidence re mains the same; the conclusion is held true for the sake of the explanation it alfords of observed facts. Generally speaking, the conclusions of hypothetic inference cannot be arrived at inductively, because their truth is not susceptible of direct observation in single cases; nor can the conclusions of inductions, on account of their generality, be reached by hypothetic inference. For instance, any historical fact, as that Napoleon Bonaparte once lived, is a hypothesis; for we believe the proposition because its effects—current tradition, the histories, the monuments, etc.—are observed. No mere generalization of observed facts could ever teach us that Napoleon lived. Again, we inductively infer that every particle of matter gravitates toward every other. Hypothesis might lead to this result for any given pair of particles, but never could show that the law is universal. The chief precautions to be used in adopting hypotheses are two: first, we should take pains not to confine our verifications to certain orders of effects to which the supposed fact would give rise, but to examine effects of every kind; secondly, before a hypothesis can be regarded as anything more than a suggestion, it must have produced successful predictions. For example, hypotheses concerning the luminiferous ether have had the defect that they would necessitate certain longitudinal oscillations to which nothing in the phenomenacorresponds; and consequently these theories ought not to be held as probably true, but only as analogues of the truth. As long as the kinetical theory of gases merely explained the laws of Boyle and Charles, which it was constructed to explain, it had little importance; but when it was shown that diffusion, viscosity, and condnctibility in gases were connected and subject to those laws which theory had predicted, the probability of the hypothesis became very great.
    • hypothesis An ill-supported theory; a proposition not believed, but whose consequences it is thought desirable to compare with facts.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Hypothesis hī-poth′e-sis a supposition: a proposition assumed for the sake of argument: a theory to be proved or disproved by reference to facts: a provisional explanation of anything
    • ***


  • Thomas H. Huxley
    “The great tragedy of science is the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact.”
  • Konrad Lorenz
    Konrad Lorenz
    “It is a good morning exercise for a research scientist to discard a pet hypothesis every day before breakfast. It keeps him young.”
  • Konrad Lorenz
    Konrad Lorenz
    “Truth in science can best be defined as the working hypothesis best suited to open the way to the next better one.”
  • Denis Diderot
    “In order to shake a hypothesis, it is sometimes not necessary to do anything more than push it as far as it will go.”
  • Jean Rostand
    “One must credit an hypothesis with all that has had to be discovered in order to demolish it.”
  • Thomas Jefferson
    “The constitution, on this hypothesis, is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary, which they may twist and shape into any form they please.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
NL., fr. Gr. foundation, supposition, fr. to place under, under + to put. See Hypo- Thesis
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Gr., hypo, under, tithenai, to place.


In literature:

"The Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication, Volume II (of 2)" by Charles Darwin
Thus cut loose from all hypothesis, his fertility in ideas and ingenuity in experimentation are as striking as ever.
"Sir William Herschel: His Life and Works" by Edward Singleton Holden
The wheels and springs of man are all set to the hypothesis of the permanence of nature.
"Nature" by Ralph Waldo Emerson
But all this does not prevent us from maintaining our hypothesis.
"Introduction to the Study of History" by Charles V. Langlois
Any hypothesis of existence that does not take into consideration the welfare of humanity is a false hypothesis.
"Elementary Theosophy" by L. W. Rogers
Much is obscure in their history, even though hypothesis be given the widest range and a friendly hearing.
"Landmarks in the History of Early Christianity" by Kirsopp Lake
A closer examination proves that the whole explanation of the names of the locusts, upon which the hypothesis is built, is untenable.
"Christology of the Old Testament: And a Commentary on the Messianic Predictions, v. 1" by Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg
Still, an hypothesis that violates no known law and has the warrant of philosophical probability is always worthy of a hearing.
"A History of Science, Volume 5(of 5)" by Henry Smith Williams
But what is especially in opposition to this hypothesis is ver.
"Christology of the Old Testament: And a Commentary on the Messianic Predictions. Vol. 2" by Ernst Hengstenberg
He made few experiments to disprove Lamarck's hypothesis.
"A Critique of the Theory of Evolution" by Thomas Hunt Morgan

In poetry:

I shudder! But
First will you please explain if such a case
Be fact, or only an hypothesis?
That is to say, if you, of your own head,
Invent the case, or if indeed it happened,
And still continues happening?
"Nathan The Wise - Act IV" by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
The mission of the war was this — To force the bolt, unbar the door,
And let the long oppressed go free;
It was no veiled hypothesis,
But plain, so plain that all might see,
E'en to the poorest of the poor.
"The Triumph Of Liberty" by James Madison Bell

In news:

The simultaneous appearance in May 2003 of four books on the Riemann hypothesis (RH) provoked these reflections.
Fishel uses scientific method to test heat hypothesis .
"My hypothesis is that you always need to be active no matter what your body weight is," he said.
Medical Reversal, Clinical Trials, and the "Late" Open Artery Hypothesis in Acute Myocardial Infarction .
The hypotheticals demonstrate the sensitivity of a hypothesis to apparently small factual differences that may require different results because they shift the tradeoffs among conflicting underlying principles.
In a speculative moment in 1945, he came up with a sweeping hypothesis for the evolution the group of butterflies known as the Polyommatus blues, and 65 years later, DNA analysis has proved it correct.
Many machine learning algorithms follow this principle and search for a small hypothesis within the version space.
Cavigelli of the Tate Geological Museum spoke with K2 Radio about the discovery and a hypothesis about the T Rex.
Amid America's tense culture wars, Haidt (The Happiness Hypothesis), a psychology professor at the University of Virginia, has produced this thought-provoking investigation into the innate morality of the human mind.
The 'bat seeding' hypothesis p136.
This paper represents a hypothesis regarding patient response to spinal manipulation under anesthesia (MUA) and the response to follow-up care after the MUA procedure has been completed.
Fishel uses scientific method to test heat hypothesis.
"I learned about making a hypothesis, the scientific method.".
For a long time now, I've had a working hypothesis about Ray Nagin's 2006 mayoral re-election.
A NASA spacecraft studying Mercury has provided compelling support for the long-held hypothesis the planet harbors abundant water ice and other frozen volatile materials within its permanently shadowed polar craters.

In science:

Many lemmas in this paper are proved using this or that kind of a large cardinal hypothesis, determinacy hypothesis or a forcing absoluteness hypothesis.
Countable Support Iteration Revisited
The finite-size scaling hypothesis for the magnetization is essentially identical to the standard finite-size scaling hypothesis except that the measurement is made at a point that is fine-tuned for the given realization of disorder rather than at the infinite system size critical point.
Ground state numerical study of the three-dimensional random field Ising model
This is the only hypothesis in dBB that may be called the quantum equilibrium hypothesis (QEH).
Comments on Struyve and Baere's paper on experiments to distinguish Bohmian mechanics from quantum mechanics
Notations: + ⇒ supports hypothesis; OK ⇒ neutral; NO ⇒ contradicts hypothesis; - ⇒ contradicts but more data required; NA ⇒ not applicable.
Observations of cluster substructure using weakly lensed sextupole moments
The importance of this class of ensembles is determined by the following hypothesis: The hypothesis about the primitive macroscopically definable ensembles.
Geometry of irreversibility: The film of nonequilibrium states