Something theoretical is concerned with theories and hypotheses — it's not necessarily based on real life or meant to be applied to real life.

Theoretical things are based on theory and ideas, while practical ones are based on practice. Theoretical thinking can be really helpful when you're trying to imagine something or problem-solve, but your theories should always be tested out in the practical world. As philosopher Bertrand Russell said, “The theoretical understanding of the world, which is the aim of philosophy, is not a matter of great practical importance to animals, or to savages, or even to most civilized men.”

Definitions of theoretical
  1. adjective
    concerned primarily with theories or hypotheses rather than practical considerations
    theoretical science”
    synonyms: theoretic
    of an abstracting nature or having the power of abstracting
    a priori
    based on hypothesis or theory rather than experiment
    conjectural, divinatory, hypothetic, hypothetical, supposed, suppositional, suppositious, supposititious
    based primarily on surmise rather than adequate evidence
    notional, speculative
    not based on fact or investigation
    highly abstract and overly theoretical
    based in theory rather than experiment
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    empiric, empirical
    derived from experiment and observation rather than theory
    a posteriori
    requiring evidence for validation or support
    confirmable, falsifiable, verifiable
    capable of being tested (verified or falsified) by experiment or observation
    existential, experiential
    derived from experience or the experience of existence
    data-based, experimental, observational
    relying on observation or experiment
    of the nature of or undergoing an experiment
    relying to some extent on observation or experiment
    trying out various means or theories until error is satisfactorily reduced or eliminated
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  2. adjective
    concerned with theories rather than their practical applications
    theoretical physics”
    dealing with a subject in the abstract without practical purpose or intention
    hypothetical or theoretical and not expected to produce an immediate or practical result
    concerned with theory and data rather than practice; opposed to applied
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    concerned with concrete problems or data rather than with fundamental principles
    used or applied in the investigation and establishment of facts or evidence in a court of law
    having or put to a practical purpose or use
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