Everyone who has ever taken a science class knows the word "hypothesis," which means an idea, or a guess, that you are going to test through an experiment. A hypothetical is related to that. It means something based on an informed guess.

Hypotheticals are fun. How would you do in a hypothetical arm-wrestling competition against your Grandma? There are people in the Pentagon whose jobs are to consider all kinds of hypotheticals––what if Luxembourg armed itself with nuclear weapons? What if France developed the ability to pelt Switzerland with cannons firing cheeses?

Definitions of hypothetical
  1. noun
    a hypothetical possibility, circumstance, statement, proposal, situation, etc.
    “consider the following, just as a hypothetical
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    type of:
    hypothesis, possibility, theory
    a tentative insight into the natural world; a concept that is not yet verified but that if true would explain certain facts or phenomena
  2. adjective
    based primarily on surmise rather than adequate evidence
    hypothetical situation”
    synonyms: circumstantial, conjectural, divinatory, hypothetic, supposed, suppositional, suppositious, supposititious
    theoretic, theoretical
    concerned primarily with theories or hypotheses rather than practical considerations
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