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coherent group of general assumptions, body of principles belonging to a certain subject; speculation, hypothesis

Known and played variations and positions in any phase of the game. Opening theory is also known as the "book."

In the scientific domain, a well substantiated, comprehensive, predictive explanation, generally approved in the scientific community, but not final, of a phenomenon or set of data.

of chances,..
see chance

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n. nger

Theory is a contemplative and rational type of abstract or generalizing thinking, or the results of such thinking. Depending on the context, the results might for example include generalized explanations of how nature works. The word has its roots in ancient Greek, but in modern use it has taken on several different related meanings. A theory is not the same as a hypothesis. A theory provides an explanatory framework for some observation, and from the assumptions of the explanation follows a number of possible hypotheses that can be tested in order to provide support for, or challenge, the theory.

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1. a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world; an organized system of accepted knowledge that applies in a variety of circumstances to explain a specific set of phenomena; "theories can incorporate facts and laws and tested hypotheses"; "true in fact and theory"
(hypernym) explanation
(hyponym) reductionism
(part-meronym) law, law of nature
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"
(synonym) hypothesis, possibility
(hypernym) concept, conception, construct
(hyponym) model, theoretical account, framework
(derivation) speculate, theorize, theorise, conjecture, hypothesize, hypothesise, hypothecate, suppose
3. a belief that can guide behavior; "the architect has a theory that more is less"; "they killed him on the theory that dead men tell no tales"
(hypernym) belief
(hyponym) patchwork, hodgepodge, jumble
(derivation) speculate, theorize, theorise, conjecture, hypothesize, hypothesise, hypothecate, suppose

teoric f.

Summary statements of general principles which explain regularly observed events.

n. The consensus, idea, plan, story, or set of rules that is currently being used to inform a behavior. This usage is a generalization and (deliberate) abuse of the technical meaning. "What's the theory on fixing this TECO loss?" "What's the theory on dinner tonight?" ("Chinatown, I guess.") "What's the current theory on letting lusers on during the day?" "The theory behind this change is to fix the following well-known screw...."

A concept that attempts to explain the relationships between events and that may be used to predict or control those events.

The science, as distinguished from the art; as, the theory and practice of medicine.
The philosophical explanation of phenomena, either physical or moral; as, Lavoisier's theory of combustion; Adam Smith's theory of moral sentiments.
An exposition of the general or abstract principles of any science; as, the theory of music.
A doctrine, or scheme of things, which terminates in speculation or contemplation, without a view to practice; hypothesis; speculation.


Compare with hypothesis .Theories are well-established explanations for experimental data. To become established, the theory must experimentally tested by many different investigators. Theories usually can not be proven; a single contrary experiment can disprove a theory.

An imaginative formulation of apparent relationships or underlying principles of certain observed phenomena. It may have been verified to some extent, or it may be pure hypothesis or conjecture. (Iberall)

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