Definition of Theoretical

Let’s start with a cool word: “theoretical”. It sounds pretty fancy, right? But it’s actually not too complicated. Picture something that’s theoretical as something that lives in the world of thought or imagination. It’s like a seed of an idea that hasn’t sprouted yet. Imagine you have an awesome idea for a video game. It’s not on your computer—it’s still floating around in your brain. That’s theoretical. You’ve planned it all out, maybe you’ve sketched some characters and thought of levels, but you haven’t coded a single line. That’s your theoretical video game.

Now, think about theoretical things as being a bit like a rehearsal. Before actors perform a play on stage, they practice by reading their lines and imagining the scenes. They’re making predictions, guesses about how the play could go before the actual performance. This is how we use theoretical ideas in real life. We imagine, we hypothesize, and we predict, based on what we know. Scientists, for instance, might come up with a hunch about why certain stars are super bright. Before they make any real-life observations with their telescopes, they use math and previous knowledge to make educated guesses. That’s all part of being theoretical: you’re exploring what could be before you see what actually is.

Examples of Theoretical

  • Theoretical physics: This field is like daydreaming about the universe with math and science rules. For example, scientists say ‘what if’ about black holes and come up with theories on how they work. They then use these theories to understand the real universe better.
  • Theoretical mathematics: Here, thinkers play with numbers and shapes in their minds and find patterns. They might not know right away how these new ideas will be useful, but they could be the foundation for future discoveries in science and technology.
  • Philosophical theories: Philosophers like to ask tough questions about life, morality, and the human mind. These aren’t things you can touch or see, but discussing and theorizing about them helps us navigate our lives and society.
  • Economic models: Economists build these as if they’re crafting a video game version of the economy. These aren’t actual markets with real money, but they help predict what might happen in the world of finance and business.

Why is it Important?

You may wonder why daydreaming about all this stuff matters. Well, theoretical thinking is like a practice session for your brain. Let’s say you’re playing soccer, and you run the plays in your mind the night before a big game. By the time you hit the field, you’re ready to go because you’ve theoretically played the game already. The same is true for any area where thinking ahead can save time, money, or even lives.

Moreover, theoretical thinking is like putting on special glasses that help you understand the world in a deeper way. Every time thinkers prove a theory, or even disprove one, they’re adding pieces to the big puzzle of knowledge. This puzzle helps us create new technologies and medicines and understand ourselves and the universe better.

Origin of the Term

Ever wondered where the term ‘theoretical’ comes from? It’s like a neat historical treasure hunt. The word began to be used around 1590 and has its roots in the Greek word “theorein”, which means “to watch or look at closely”. So theoretically speaking, when we’re deep in thought, we’re examining ideas closely, much like watching a play and trying to catch every detail.

Controversies Around Theoretical Approaches

Theoretical approaches don’t always get standing ovations. Some people argue that ideas are just ideas unless you can turn them into reality. They’re like the judges of a cooking competition—they want something they can taste and not just a recipe. But on the other side of the argument, some people believe theoretical approaches are the recipe and without it, we couldn’t cook up anything new. They highlight how theories turn on the light bulb for progress, inspiring inventions that change lives, like how Einstein’s abstract thoughts led to today’s GPS technology.

In philosophy, there’s also a bit of a tussle. Some prefer to move from thought to action, encouraging living by the theories rather than just pondering them. They focus on theories as a guide for how to navigate real-life situations, not just as a mental exercise.

Putting the “Theoretical” into Practice

Turning theoretical ideas into everyday realities is a process. It starts with a thought, a guess. Then, through rigorous testing, discussions, and evidence-gathering, these theories stand trial to see if they can become facts. If they do, they can inspire new inventions, guide the development of groundbreaking medicines, or pave the way for social reforms that make life better for everyone.

Related Topics

  • Hypothesis: This is a starting guess in the scientific method. It’s a theory waiting for its day in court, to be tested and possibly become a scientifically supported idea.
  • Empirical evidence: This is the opposite of theoretical. It’s proof you can see, touch, or measure—like the results of an experiment. It’s how we test if theoretical ideas hold water in the real world.
  • Abstract thinking: This is like the brain’s playground. It’s where we mentally juggle ideas, patterns, and concepts. It’s closely related to theoretical thinking because it’s all about dealing with ideas rather than real objects or experiences.


To wrap it all up, being theoretical is kind of like being a visionary. Even though it all happens in the world of ideas, it’s crucial for making big leaps—like hopping from asking ‘what if’ about cellphones to texting on your smartphone. Theoretical ideas give us a sketchbook for the future, a preview into solutions, and inventions that can shape our world. And though it might seem like just a bunch of guesswork, anyone can see that theoretical insights seriously pack a punch in reality over time. That’s the power of theory, and it’s what fills up the pages of the story of progress and knowledge. Next time you come across a theory or find yourself thinking theoretically, remember it might just be the first glimpse of a revolution in the making!