Empirical Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How to Use It

Searching for information on the meaning of empirical? Look no further and read on to discover our complete guide on empirical.

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The word empirical is used commonly by scientists, but what does it mean? And where does it come from? This guide will provide you with everything that you need to know on empirical.

What Is the Definition of Empirical?

According to the various trusted English Dictionaries, Empirical can be defined as something based solely on experiment or experience. For instance, empirical knowledge is based upon observations over theory. This word was originally used in the 1500s by doctors in the medical field who made their choices based on experiments rather than theoretical ideas. 

Empirical today references all sorts of knowledge derived from experience — empirical laws, empirical data, empirical research, and empirical methods are just a few.

So, what does empirical mean? Simply put, empirical is an adjective that refers to something that’s based on, concerned with, or verifiable by experiment or observation rather than pure logic or theory. 

What Is the Origin of Empirical?

Empirical is of Greek origin, deriving from both the Greek empeiriko (experienced) and the Greek empeiria, meaning “mere experience.” The word empirical also derives from Latin empiricus, meaning “a physician guided from experience.” As mentioned above, the adjective empirical was originally used in the medical field in the 1560s.

What Are the Synonyms and Antonyms of Empirical?

To further your overall understanding of the word empirical, let’s take a look at a few synonyms and antonyms. 

Just to refresh your memory, a synonym is a word or phrase that means nearly or exactly the same as another word or phrase. An antonym, on the other hand, is a word with a meaning that’s opposite to the meaning of another word. 

Synonyms of empirical provided by Collins Thesaurus:

  • In the field
  • Evidence-based 
  • Practical 
  • Factual 
  • A posteriori 
  • Trial and error
  • Existential 
  • Undoubtedly 
  • Research-based
  • Based on observation
  • Non-theoretical 
  • Subjective
  • Knowledge-based 
  • First hand
  • Hands-on 

Antonyms also provided by Collins Thesaurus

  • Theoretical
  • Based on hearsay
  • Uninformed
  • Witless
  • Fallacious
  • Harebrained 
  • Conjectural
  • Hypothetical
  • Theoretic
  • Based on guesswork
  • A priori
  • Unobserved
  • Faith driven
  • Non-phenomenal 

How Can You Use Empirical in a Sentence?

Now that you’re up to speed on the meaning of empirical, it’s time to put what you’ve learned into practice. Test yourself to see how many sentences you can come up with using our word of the day. 

Need some help? Feel free to refer to our sentence examples listed below:

Honestly, do you have any form of empirical research to prove your statements?

Is Martha aware her belief has no empirical basis whatsoever? 

I don’t mean to be rude, but there’s no empirical data to support this thesis.

We had a hefty debate in class today on various empirical laws.

It’s difficult to gather this kind of empirical data.

Believe it or not, there’s very little empirical evidence of that so far.

Sally tried to trace their ideas in empirical matters like physiology.

What Are Translations of Empirical?

Learning translations of different words is important for the spreading of new information, knowledge, and ideas across the globe. Translating between languages can also reveal their structural differences, as well as any similarities. 

So, what are the translations of empirical, you ask? Here are some of them: 

  • Chinese: 实证的
  • European Spanish: empírico 
  • French: empirique 
  • European Portuguese: empírico 
  • Spanish: empírico 
  • Thai: โดยประสบการณ์, ที่ได้จากการทดลอง
  • Italian: empirico 
  • British English: empirical 
  • Japanese: 実験による
  • Korean: 경험적인
  • American English: empirical 
  • Brazilian Portuguese: empírico
  • German: empirisch

What Is Empirical Research?

Because we know empirical means something is guided by scientific experimentation or evidence, we can conclude that empirical research is any study where conclusions are exclusively derived from concrete, verifiable evidence. 

With this in mind, an empirical study can be defined as such when it relies on real-world evidence in investigating its assertions. 

Is Theoretical a Synonym of Empirical?

Many people think the words theoretical and empirical are interchangeable, but this is not the case. Empirical means based on data gathered by observations or experiments. Theoretical, on the flip side, makes connections between empirical studies to define a theoretical position. 

In other words, the word theoretical is of or relating to theory while empirical is pertaining to or based on experience. 


In short, you can reflect on the origins of tacos, but until you visit every taco shop, you will lack empirical knowledge of taco creation! Our word of the day — empirical — relates to knowledge derived from experience and observation rather than theory. 

Defined as something that originates or is based on observation or experience, empirical comes from Greek ἐμπειρία empeiría and is commonly used in reference to empirical evidence, research, knowledge, and data. 


  1. Empirical Synonyms | Collins English Thesaurus 
  2. Empirical definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary
  3. Empirical: definition | Cambridge English Dictionary