I'm curious as to whether there is a word that describes another hypothesis that is accounted for by the same evidence.

To be more clear, we may have a hypothesis A, and data X. Data X is consistent with A. However, data X is also consistent with some other hypothesis, B. B may or may not be consistent with A. Is there a special word to describe B?

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    I'm not aware that there is. But do you really want a word to describe B? There are so many things that both hypotheses could agree on trivially that you might end up making it seem as if you're saying something interesting in describing B, when in fact you're not. Jul 4, 2013 at 3:02
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    Why not just describe it as an alternative hypothesis?
    – user867
    Jul 4, 2013 at 4:22
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    @user867 "alternative hypothesis" is a defined expression. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alternative_hypothesis thefreedictionary.com/Alternate+hypothesis
    – Kris
    Jul 4, 2013 at 9:42
  • There couldn't be a special word to describe B, as it's just one of two. You've decided arbitrarily that one is A and the other is B. What not swap 'em round?
    – Carl Smith
    Jul 7, 2013 at 1:40

1 Answer 1


Could you say hypothesis B is the competing hypothesis? The Wikipedia article on analysis of competing hypotheses uses it in the first sentence:

The analysis of competing hypotheses (ACH) provides an unbiased methodology for evaluating multiple competing hypotheses for observed data.

From this article, it sounds like what you're dealing with and uses the term 'competing hypotheses'. So I suppose you could say hypothesis A is the hypothesis, the primary hypothesis, the main hypothesis or similar and B could be the competing hypothesis. :-)

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