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English since 1613, from French théorie < Latin theoria < Greek θεωρία ("contemplation, speculation, a looking at, things looked at") < θεωρέω (to look at, view, consider, examine) < θεωρός (spectator) < θέα (a view) + ὁράω (to see, to look).
- (countable) An unproven conjecture.
- I have a theory about who broke into the school last night, but I have no proof to back it up.
- (uncountable) An expectation of what should happen, barring unforeseen circumstances.
- So we’ll be there in three hours? — That’s the theory.
- (countable) (sciences) A coherent statement or set of statements that attempts to explain observed phenomena.
- There is now a well-developed theory of electrical charge.
- (countable) (sciences) A logical structure that enables one to deduce the possible results of every experiment that falls within its purview.
- The theory of relativity was proposed by Einstein.
- (uncountable) (mathematics) A field of study attempting to exhaustively describe a particular class of constructs.
- Knot theory classifies the mappings of a circle into 3-space.
- (countable) (logic) A set of axioms together with all statements derivable from them.
- A theory is consistent if it has a model.
- See also Wikisaurus:supposition
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