Empirical refers to information or evidence that is based on observation, experience, or experiment rather than on theory or conjecture. It is information that is gathered by direct observation or experimentation rather than by relying solely on logic or reason.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



Observational, experiential, factual, experimental, practical


Theoretical, speculative, conjectural, hypothetical, abstract

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun empiricist, empiricists, empiricism, empiricisms
Verb None
Adjective empirical, empiric
Adverb empirically

Example Sentences

  • The team conducted empirical research to determine the most effective marketing strategy for the new product.

  • The scientist used empirical data to support her hypothesis about the behavior of a certain species of bird.

  • The success of the company’s new product was based on empirical evidence gathered through extensive market research.

  • The author’s claims were not supported by any empirical evidence, and were therefore considered unfounded.


The word empirical is often used in contrast to theoretical. Theories are based on abstract reasoning and logical deductions, while empirical evidence is based on direct observation and experimentation. In the sciences, empirical evidence is considered to be the most reliable form of evidence, because it is based on actual observations and measurements rather than on assumptions or theories.

The word empirical can be used to describe any type of information or evidence that is based on direct observation or experience. For example, empirical data can be gathered through surveys, experiments, or other forms of direct observation. Empirical research is used in many fields, including psychology, sociology, economics, and medicine.

The word empirical comes from the Greek word “empeirikos,” which means “experienced.” The suffix “-ical” is added to indicate that the word is an adjective. Empirical can also be used as a noun, as in the phrase “the empirical approach,” which refers to the practice of relying on direct observation and experimentation rather than on theoretical reasoning.