Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Postulate

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The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is postulate. Read on for what it means, how it’s used, and more.

What It Means

To postulate means to assume or claim something (such as an idea or theory) as true especially for the purposes of starting a discussion.

// The famous science-fiction author often postulates in interviews that we live in but one of an infinite number of parallel universes.

POSTULATE in Context

“Little is known about the Javan ferret badger (Melogale orientalis), such as its primary diet or breeding behavior, although some scientists postulate it’s similar to the Bornean ferret badger (M. everetti), burrowing and eating eggs, carrion, invertebrates, small mammals and fruit when available.” — Philip Jacobson, Mongabay, 26 Jan. 2022

Did You Know?

When you postulate an idea or theory you suggest that it is true especially for the purposes of an argument or discussion. The word is mostly at home in formal and academic contexts, but don’t let that stop you from postulating, for example, that takeout for dinner makes sense given the cook’s delayed return home from work. The word postulate also functions as a noun referring to something that’s been postulated, as in “a theory based on disputed postulates.” Both verb and noun have their source in Latin postulare, meaning “to assume.”

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