On stackoverflow.com I found 3 instances of empiric solution and 4 instances of empirical solution.

What does this mean, if it means something—perhaps empiric and empirical are completely interchangeable? Or, does there exist some differences in usage?


As an adjective, empiric means empirical. It can additionally be used as a noun, while empirical cannot. So as long as you're using it as an adjective, then yes, empiric and empirical are interchangeable. (I think the -ical version usually sounds better, but that's just personal preference.)

Note that empiric was originally a noun only. The suffix -al was added to make it into the adjective empirical, but empiric itself came to be used as an adjective as well. Since this happened over four hundred years ago, and since both words have continued to be used with the same meaning, you can use whichever you like.

I should add, though, that empirical is more common in most contexts. (This probably has something to do with why I think it "usually sounds better", as I wrote above.)

  • snail, +1; but may I ask you if the question title is grammatical? Italian people have some difficulties in usage of the word "interchange" and the phrase "each other". – user114 Mar 1 '13 at 18:31
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    I think it's missing the word with before each other. – snailplane Mar 1 '13 at 18:38
  • snail, thank you, a lot. I'm going to edit the title. – user114 Mar 1 '13 at 18:51

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