speculate

verb
spec·​u·​late | \ ˈspe-kyə-ˌlāt \
speculated; speculating

Definition of speculate

intransitive verb

1a : to meditate on or ponder a subject : reflect
b : to review something idly or casually and often inconclusively
2 : to assume a business risk in hope of gain especially : to buy or sell in expectation of profiting from market fluctuations

transitive verb

1 : to take to be true on the basis of insufficient evidence : theorize
2 : to be curious or doubtful about : wonder speculates whether it will rain all vacation

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Other Words from speculate

speculator \ ˈspe-​kyə-​ˌlā-​tər \ noun

Synonyms for speculate

Synonyms

assume, conjecture, daresay, guess, imagine, presume, suppose, surmise, suspect, suspicion [chiefly dialect]

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Choose the Right Synonym for speculate

think, cogitate, reflect, reason, speculate, deliberate mean to use one's powers of conception, judgment, or inference. think is general and may apply to any mental activity, but used alone often suggests attainment of clear ideas or conclusions. teaches students how to think cogitate implies deep or intent thinking. cogitated on the mysteries of nature reflect suggests unhurried consideration of something recalled to the mind. reflecting on fifty years of married life reason stresses consecutive logical thinking. able to reason brilliantly in debate speculate implies reasoning about things theoretical or problematic. speculated on the fate of the lost explorers deliberate suggests slow or careful reasoning before forming an opinion or reaching a conclusion or decision. the jury deliberated for five hours

Did You Know?

Speculate was adopted into English in the late 16th century from Latin speculatus, the past participle of the verb speculari, which means "to spy out" or "to examine." Speculari, in turn, derives from specula, meaning "lookout post," and ultimately from the Latin verb specere, "to look (at)." Other conspicuous descendants of specere are inspect and suspect. Some less obvious descendants are the words despise, species, specimen, and, as you may have speculated, conspicuous.

Examples of speculate in a Sentence

She could only speculate about her friend's motives. He speculated as to whether she would come. We don't know what happened—we can only speculate. speculating on the stock market
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Recent Examples on the Web

The pensive, seductive lyrics have some keen listeners speculating whether the track is about Abel's girlfriend Bella Hadid and perhaps even Drake. Nicole Saunders, Harper's BAZAAR, "Fans Think The Weeknd Sings About Bella Hadid (and Disses Drake) on New Song "Lost in the Fire"," 11 Jan. 2019 Others have pointed out that Eleven and Mike are wearing the colors blue and yellow, which some speculated is symbolic of the Ukrainian flag. Lauren Rearick, Glamour, "Stranger Things Fans Already Have Tons of Theories About the Season 3 Poster," 2 Jan. 2019 While the report doesn’t speculate on the pricing of the new phones, the affordable model would presumably clock in at well under $700. Michael Simon, PCWorld, "Samsung may be plotting a Galaxy S10 blitz with 5G, folding screens...and no headphone jack," 26 Oct. 2018 Police did not speculate about whether the remains were those of an additional victim or victims. Ian Austen, New York Times, "More Remains Found Near Home Used by Suspected Canadian Serial Killer," 5 July 2018 The report didn't speculate on why borrowing dropped so significantly in the most recent year, though tax revenue generally has risen with the improving economy. Russ Wiles, azcentral, "See where taxpayers are on the hook for the most debt in Arizona," 24 June 2018 Collins could not speculate on the likelihood of Interior officials signing off on the highway deal, or the district's position since MDX planners have not settled on a final route for what the county is calling the Kendall Parkway. Jenny Staletovich, miamiherald, "Roadblock for Miami-Dade parkway plan? Feds own big chunks of wetlands along the route," 19 June 2018 Secretary of State Michele Reagan’s office has said her office won’t speculate on responses to possible vacancies, and will make any decisions once a vacancy becomes available. Melissa Daniels, BostonGlobe.com, "Arizona Republicans won’t talk about John McCain’s Senate seat," 17 June 2018 As of Monday, none of the victims has been identified and authorities would not speculate on how long any of the three victims had been dead. Nicholas Rondinone, courant.com, "Springfield Man Faces Judge On New Charges Days After Three Bodies Found At Home," 4 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'speculate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of speculate

1599, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for speculate

Latin speculatus, past participle of speculari to spy out, examine, from specula lookout post, from specere to look, look at — more at spy

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Last Updated

17 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for speculate

The first known use of speculate was in 1599

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More Definitions for speculate

speculator

noun

Financial Definition of speculator

What It Is

A speculator is a person or an entity that trades securities essentially as bets that the price will go up or down, and as such, typically has an above-average risk tolerance.

How It Works

Although one can argue that all investment is speculation, an acknowledged speculator will buy or sell a security solely to reap a typically short-term profit from the price movement of that security. This motivation differs significantly from those of more traditional investors or hedgers.

For example, consider the purchase of corn futures. A hedger may purchase these securities in order to offset any negative movements in the price of corn and thus stabilize his or her portfolio (these people might be corn growers or cereal companies, for instance). A speculator, however, may buy the very same security simply because he or she has reason to believe the position will increase in value. He or she simply bets on which way the market is going to go.

Why It Matters

Speculation can sometimes drive securities prices away from their intrinsic value, either becoming overpriced during a buying frenzy or becoming underpriced during a huge sell-off. Although speculators sometimes get a bad rap in the press for this reason, they are a crucial lubricant to the markets, particularly the commodities markets. Although they don't want to physically possess any of the commodities they're trading (that is, they don't really want a truckload of rice delivered to their door), their trading activity brings liquidity to the market, which in turn provides stability and efficiency to those markets.

It is important to note, however, that speculators are generally bigger risk takers than other investors. They are more likely than other investors to use leverage, and as such can suffer huge losses alongside huge gains.

Source: Investing Answers

speculate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of speculate

: to think about something and make guesses about it : to form ideas or theories about something usually when there are many things not known about it

: to invest money in ways that could produce a large profit but that also involve a lot of risk

speculate

verb
spec·​u·​late | \ ˈspe-kyə-ˌlāt \
speculated; speculating

Kids Definition of speculate

1 : to think or wonder about something
2 : to come up with ideas or theories about something
3 : to engage in a risky but possibly very profitable business deal

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speculate

verb
spec·​u·​late | \ ˈspe-kyə-ˌlāt \
speculated; speculating

Legal Definition of speculate

intransitive verb

1 : to theorize on the basis of insufficient evidence

Note: A jury is not permitted to speculate on a matter about which insufficient evidence has been presented in reaching its verdict.

2 : to assume a business risk in hope of gain especially : to buy or sell in expectation of profiting from market fluctuations

transitive verb

: to take to be true on the basis of insufficient evidence

Other Words from speculate

speculator \ -​ˌlā-​tər \ noun

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Comments on speculate

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to gather or build up little by little

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