theory


theory
[16] The etymological notion underlying theory is of ‘looking’; only secondarily did it develop via ‘contemplation’ to ‘mental conception’. It comes via late Latin theōria from Greek theōríā ‘contemplation, speculation, theory’. This was a derivative of theōrós ‘spectator’, which was formed from the base thea- (source also of theásthai ‘watch, look at’, from which English gets theatre). Also derived from theōrós was theōreín ‘look at’, which formed the basis of theórēma ‘speculation, intuition, theory’, acquired by English via late Latin theōrēma as theorem [16]. From the same source comes theoretical [17]. => THEATRE
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   The word literally means 'sight,' 'view,' and ultimately derives from Greek theorein, 'to look at,' as of a spectator at public games. A theory is a mental 'picture' or conception of something, otherwise a 'view' about it. (Greek theoros, 'spectator,' is literally 'one who regards a god,' that is, consults an oracle, from theos, 'god,' and ora, 'care,' 'regard.')

The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins. 2013.

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