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 (thē′ə-rĕt′ĭ-kəl) also the·o·ret·ic (-rĕt′ĭk)
1. Of, relating to, or based on theory.
2. Restricted to theory; not practical or applied: theoretical physics.
3. Studying or working to develop theory.

[Late Latin theōrēticus, from Greek theōrētikos, from theōrētos, observable, from theōrein, to look at; see theorem.]

the′o·ret′i·cal·ly adv.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adj.1.theoretic - concerned primarily with theories or hypotheses rather than practical considerations; "theoretical science"


1. Existing only in concept and not in reality:
2. Concerned primarily with theories rather than practical matters:
References in classic literature ?
So far gone am I in the dark side of earth, that its other side, the theoretic bright one, seems but uncertain twilight to me.
Hitherto my observations have only aimed at a vindication of the provision in question, on the ground of theoretic propriety, on that of the danger of placing the power elsewhere, and on that of the safety of placing it in the manner proposed.
Reason itself also is divided into two parts, in the manner we usually divide it; the theoretic and the practical; which division therefore seems necessary for this part also: the same analogy holds good with respect to actions; of which those which are of a superior nature ought always to be chosen by those who have it in their power; for that is always most eligible to every one which will procure the best ends.
Theoretic politicians, who have patronized this species of government, have erroneously supposed that by reducing mankind to a perfect equality in their political rights, they would, at the same time, be perfectly equalized and assimilated in their possessions, their opinions, and their passions.
The theoretic effective radius of this rifle is three hundred miles, but the best they can do in actual service when equipped with their wireless finders and sighters is but a trifle over two hundred miles.
Her mind was theoretic, and yearned by its nature after some lofty conception of the world which might frankly include the parish of Tipton and her own rule of conduct there; she was enamoured of intensity and greatness, and rash in embracing whatever seemed to her to have those aspects; likely to seek martyrdom, to make retractations, and then to incur martyrdom after all in a quarter where she had not sought it.
This, however, does not affect the value of their general theories from the point of view of theoretic psychology, and it is from this point of view that their results are important for the analysis of mind.
The life of Obed had been so purely theoretic, that his amazement was not the least embarrassing at a state of things which might not have proved so very remarkable had he been a little more practised in the ways of the world.
It was true she had a theoretic objection to compliments, and had once said impatiently to Philip that she didn't see why women were to be told with a simper that they were beautiful, any more than old men were to be told that they were venerable; still, to be so irritated by a common practice in the case of a stranger like Mr.
From having the baleen in his mouth, the Fin-Back is sometimes included with the right whale, among a theoretic species denominated Whalebone whales, that is, whales with baleen.
Yet the theoretic principles, as they were drawn into discussion, could not fail to arrest their attention, and must have assisted them to form accurate ideas concerning the origin and extent of authority among men, independent of positive institutions.
This emotion was not at all theoretic, it was not even in a high degree sentimental; he had thought very little about the "position" of women, and he was not familiar either sympathetically or otherwise, with the image of a President in petticoats.