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December 15, 2019

Word of the Day: Postulate

2 CQ

Word of the Day : March 6, 2017

postulate \PAHSS-chuh-layt\ verb


1 : demand, claim

2 a : to assume or claim as true, existent, or necessary

b : to assume as an axiom or as a hypothesis advanced as an essential presupposition, condition, or premise of a train of reasoning (as in logic or mathematics)


"Some postulate that the moment when machines surpass humans in intelligence may not be that far off." — Vicky Allan, The Sunday Herald (Glasgow), 22 Jan. 2017

"[Dr. Kevin] Tracey, a neurosurgeon, scientist and inventor, first advanced what seemed a radical hypothesis in the late 1990s: He postulated that the vagus nerve is intimately involved in the function of the immune system." — Delthia Ricks, Newsday, 3 Jan. 2017

Did You Know?

In 1703, the dedication of the City and County Purchaser and Builders Dictionary included the following words: "These your extraordinary Favours … seem to Postulate from me … a Publick Recognition." That sense of postulate, a synonym of claim or demand, has been used by English speakers since the early 1600s. (The word's Latin grandparent, postulare, has the same meaning, but postulate first appeared earlier in the 1500s in senses restricted to ecclesiastical law.) Postulate was also used as a noun in the late 1500s, with the meaning "demand" or "stipulation." That sense is now considered archaic, but we still use the noun postulate. Today, it usually means "a hypothesis advanced as an essential presupposition, condition, or premise of a train of reasoning."

Aired March 6, 2017

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