a priori

A priori literally means "from before." If you know how many red, white, and blue gum balls are in the gum ball machine, this a priori knowledge can help you predict the color of the next ones to be dispensed.

In Latin a priori means “what comes first.” A priori understandings are the assumptions that come before the rest of the assessment, argument, or analysis. If you are making an argument that pre-school children who are read to at home by family members come to school better prepared to learn, the a priori understanding is that children learn by hearing before they are able to read.

Definitions of a priori
  1. adjective
    involving deductive reasoning from a general principle to a necessary effect; not supported by fact
    “an a priori judgment”
    analytic, analytical
    of a proposition that is necessarily true independent of fact or experience
    involving inferences from general principles
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    a posteriori
    involving reasoning from facts or particulars to general principles or from effects to causes
    synthetic, synthetical
    of a proposition whose truth value is determined by observation or facts
    of reasoning; proceeding from particular facts to a general conclusion
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  2. adjective
    based on hypothesis or theory rather than experiment
    theoretic, theoretical
    concerned primarily with theories or hypotheses rather than practical considerations
  3. adverb
    derived by logic, without observed facts
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    a posteriori
    derived from observed facts
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