Hypertext Webster Gateway: "hypothesis"

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (web1913)

Hypothesis \Hy*poth"e*sis\, n.; pl. {Hypotheses}. [NL., fr. Gr.
? foundation, supposition, fr. ? to place under, ? under + ?
to put. See {Hypo-}, {Thesis}.]
1. 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. --J. S. Mill.

2. (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.

Syn: Supposition; assumption. See {Theory}.

{Nebular hypothesis}. See under {Nebular}.

From WordNet (r) 1.7 (wn)

n 1: a proposal intended to explain certain facts or observations
2: a tentative theory about 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" [syn: {possibility}, {theory}]
3: a message expressing an opinion based on incomplete evidence
[syn: {guess}, {conjecture}, {supposition}, {surmise}, {surmisal},

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