Heuristic \hyoo-RIS-tik\ , adjective;
1. Serving to indicate or point out; stimulating interest as a means of furthering investigation
2. Encouraging a person to learn, discover, understand, or solve problems on his or her own, as by experimenting, evaluating possible answers or solutions, or by trial and error
3. Of, pertaining to, or based on experimentation, evaluation, or trial-and-error methods
4. Denoting a rule of thumb for solving a problem without the exhaustive applications of an algorithm
According to Etymonline.com:
This word dates to 1821 and meant "serving to discover or find out" from an irregular formation of the Greek word heuretikos ("inventive"). Heuretikos is related to heuriskein ("to find") which is a predecessor of eureka.
*Today's word and the first definition were both taken from Dictionary.com's 'Word of the Day' for Wednesday, November 24