General Science


  • Based on, or depending upon observation, experience, or experimentation, as opposed to theory. Also spelled empiric.

Health Economics

  • (written as Empirical)
    Of experience, evidence, observation or experiment as distinct from a priori or being based on reason only.

Media Studies

  • adjective referring to research that is based on direct observation and experience, rather than on theory

Origin & History of “empirical”

Despite their formal resemblance, empirical and empire are completely unrelated. Empirical comes ultimately from the Greek adjective émpeiros ‘skilled or experienced in’, a compound formed from the prefix en- ‘in’ and peira ‘attempt, trial’ (a relative of English expert, peril, pirate, and repertory). From this were derived successively the noun empeiría ‘experience’ and empeirikós, which English acquired via Latin empiricus.