speculate

verb
spec·​u·​late | \ ˈspe-kyə-ˌlāt How to pronounce speculate (audio) \
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 How to pronounce speculator (audio) \ 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 chief declined to speculate on what exactly may have transpired in the parking lot. Fox News, "Sheriff’s deputy in Fort Worth, Texas, dies after found with ‘significant’ head injuries," 15 June 2019 Physicists speculate that something similar might be happening within the cores of neutron stars. Steve Nadis, Discover Magazine, "We've Found Gravitational Waves. What Will We Learn From Them?," 24 May 2019 The break from the tiny shades trend caught the attention of the paparazzi and devoted Instagram fans alike, who began to speculate on their origin. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Rihanna’s New Fenty Collection Has Been Hiding in Plain Sight," 21 May 2019 Which, of course, may lead you to speculate whether the company plans on investing in one of Chip and Joanna's new projects, like their aforementioned TV network and its programming (after all, A-ROD Corp does invest in media brands). Candace Braun Davison, House Beautiful, "Why Jennifer Lopez Called Her Day with Joanna Gaines in Waco the "Best Day Ever"," 30 Apr. 2019 Swedish media speculated whether Bonnesen can continue in her role. Hanna Hoikkala, Bloomberg.com, "Swedbank Dirty Money Plot Thickens After CEO Analyst Call," 21 Feb. 2019 Because of this, fans are speculating (and hoping) that the singer will make a big return tonight, at the American Music Awards, possibly even with a surprise performance. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Fans Think Selena Gomez is Giving a Surprise Performance at the AMAs… And They Might Be Right," 9 Oct. 2018 Weintraub declined to speculate, but said investigators also recovered bizarre, handwritten notes in a three-ring binder at the suspect’s home. Vinny Vella, Philly.com, "Bucks DA: 'Great policework' nabs chemical-company owner accused of building bombs," 28 June 2018 This led Suetsugu to speculate that the eggs could survive the journey down the avian digestion tract. Julissa Treviño, Smithsonian, "Do Mama Stick Insects Get Eaten to Transport Their Eggs?," 30 May 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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Statistics for speculate

Last Updated

20 Jun 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 How to pronounce speculate (audio) \
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 How to pronounce speculate (audio) \
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 How to pronounce speculator (audio) \ noun

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Comments on speculate

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