What does empirical mean?

Definitions for empirical
ɛmˈpɪr ɪ kəlem·pir·i·cal

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word empirical.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. empirical, empiricadjective

    derived from experiment and observation rather than theory

    "an empirical basis for an ethical theory"; "empirical laws"; "empirical data"; "an empirical treatment of a disease about which little is known"

  2. empiric, empiricaladjective

    relying on medical quackery

    "empiric treatment"


  1. empiricaladjective

    Pertaining to or based on experience.

  2. empiricaladjective

    Pertaining to, derived from, or testable by observations made using the physical senses or using instruments which extend the senses.

  3. empiricaladjective

    Verifiable by means of scientific experimentation.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Empirical, Empirickadjective

    Etymology: from the noun.

    By fire
    Of sooty coal, the empirick alchymist
    Can turn, or holds it possible to turn,
    Metals of drossiest ore to perfect gold. John Milton, Parad. Lost.

    The most sovereign prescription in Galen is but empirick to this preservative. William Shakespeare, Coriolanus.

    In extremes, bold counsels are the best;
    Like empirick remedies, they last are try’d,
    And by th’ event condemn’d or justify’d. John Dryden, Aurengz.


  1. empirical

    Empirical evidence for a proposition is evidence, i.e. what supports or counters this proposition, that is constituted by or accessible to sense experience or experimental procedure. Empirical evidence is of central importance to the sciences and plays a role in various other fields, like epistemology and law. There is no general agreement on how the terms evidence and empirical are to be defined. Often different fields work with quite different conceptions. In epistemology, evidence is what justifies beliefs or what determines whether holding a certain belief is rational. This is only possible if the evidence is possessed by the person, which has prompted various epistemologists to conceive evidence as private mental states like experiences or other beliefs. In philosophy of science, on the other hand, evidence is understood as that which confirms or disconfirms scientific hypotheses and arbitrates between competing theories. For this role, it is important that evidence is public and uncontroversial, like observable physical objects or events and unlike private mental states, so that evidence may foster scientific consensus. The term empirical comes from Greek ἐμπειρία empeiría, i.e. 'experience'. In this context, it is usually understood as what is observable, in contrast to unobservable or theoretical objects. It is generally accepted that unaided perception constitutes observation, but it is disputed to what extent objects accessible only to aided perception, like bacteria seen through a microscope or positrons detected in a cloud chamber, should be regarded as observable. Empirical evidence is essential to a posteriori knowledge or empirical knowledge, knowledge whose justification or falsification depends on experience or experiment. A priori knowledge, on the other hand, is seen either as innate or as justified by rational intuition and therefore as not dependent on empirical evidence. Rationalism fully accepts that there is knowledge a priori, which is either outright rejected by empiricism or accepted only in a restricted way as knowledge of relations between our concepts but not as pertaining to the external world. Scientific evidence is closely related to empirical evidence but not all forms of empirical evidence meet the standards dictated by scientific methods. Sources of empirical evidence are sometimes divided into observation and experimentation, the difference being that only experimentation involves manipulation or intervention: phenomena are actively created instead of being passively observed.


  1. empirical

    Empirical refers to something that is based on, concerned with, or verifiable through observation or experience rather than theory or pure logic. It involves the collection of data through direct and indirect observation or experience and can be quantified through statistical analysis. It's often used in the context of scientific research.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Empiricaladjective

    pertaining to, or founded upon, experiment or experience; depending upon the observation of phenomena; versed in experiments

  2. Empiricaladjective

    depending upon experience or observation alone, without due regard to science and theory; -- said especially of medical practice, remedies, etc.; wanting in science and deep insight; as, empiric skill, remedies

British National Corpus

  1. Adjectives Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'empirical' in Adjectives Frequency: #755

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  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of empirical in Chaldean Numerology is: 1

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of empirical in Pythagorean Numerology is: 5

Examples of empirical in a Sentence

  1. Grant Kernaghan:

    We've got empirical data supporting the fact that investors are currently rewarding companies that are going out and doing big deals.

  2. Caitlin Ryan:

    We’ve had 60 years of research on sexual orientation, it helped create an empirical foundation for these policy changes.

  3. Ann Landers:

    No one has the right to destroy another person's belief by demanding empirical evidence.

  4. Kedar Joshi:

    The existence of God is not logically necessary, and yet, on the basis of some profound peculiar empirical order in the universe, it seems that He exists as the ultimate uncreated Being, implying a paradox, as no logically unnecessary entity can be uncreated. This paradox is the ultimate question asked by God, who is nothing but the ultimate questioner.

  5. Deshawn Yeldell:

    One has to Journey within the boundaries of paradise fading into a world of unconsciousness only if you’re thirsting to inherit this empirical knowledge not too greater and not too lesser, -MillYentei

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Translations for empirical

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"empirical." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 8 Dec. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/empirical>.

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