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A theory is an attempt to create a model of reality, used for explaining and predicting obsevable phenomena.

The word theoretical is derived from theory, and is used to describe that which has not yet been observed. For example, until recently, black holes were theoretical constructs.

In science, theories can become commonly accepted if they are developed according to the scientific method.

Challenge accepted, but not tonight . . . later! Robert Merkel

Related terms are theorem and hypothesis.