Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for May 28, 2020 is:

empirical • im-PEER-uh-kul  • adjective

1 : originating in or based on observation or experience

2 : relying on experience or observation alone often without due regard for system and theory 

3 : capable of being verified or disproved by observation or experiment 

4 : of or relating to empiricism


“‘We have really good empirical research dating back to the 1980s demonstrating that kids who are restricted around treat foods often just want to eat them more,’ said Charlotte Markey, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at Rutgers University….” — Virginia Sole-Smith, The New York Times, 17 Apr. 2020

“Burger King’s advertising has been telling us that the Impossible Whopper tastes just like a Whopper. And so, in the spirit of empirical science and discovery, I ventured to a Burger King this week to test the claim.” — Eric Felten, The Examiner (Washington, DC), 31 Oct. 2019

Did you know?

When empirical first appeared as an adjective in English, it meant simply “in the manner of an empiric.” An empiric was a member of an ancient sect of doctors who practiced medicine based exclusively on observation or experience as contrasted with those who relied on theory or philosophy. The name empiric derives from Latin empīricus, itself from Greek empeirikós, meaning “based on observation (of medical treatment), experienced.” The root of the Greek word (-peiros) is a derivative of peîra, meaning “attempt, trial, test.”

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