Definition of speculation
: an act or instance of speculating: such asa : assumption of unusual business risk in hopes of obtaining commensurate gainb : a transaction involving such speculation
Examples of speculation in a Sentence
He dismissed their theories as mere speculation.
The book is just a lot of idle speculation about the future.
Her speculations leave many questions unanswered.
He lost everything in foolish land speculation.
Recent Examples of speculation from the Web
Needless to say, fans soon jumped in with speculations and commentary regarding the social media snub.
That is no more than informed speculation, yet there are deep connections among the men.
The idea of using Jewish Hospital has been part of general community speculation about what might happen to the facility, which is being sold by KentuckyOne Health.
Some of this speculation can be deadly serious (imagine America’s electricity grid being knocked out—
While no decision been reached, there is speculation that Kasowitz might resign.
Teaming up with Right Side on webcasts before Election Day fueled speculation that the former reality TV star might launch a television channel, if the vote didn't go his way.
The euro notched its biggest daily rise against the dollar in a year on Tuesday after upbeat comments from European Central Bank President Mario Draghi fueled speculation that the central bank could soon unwind its quantitative easing program.
Clearly, the family had hoped to leave the swirls of speculation and finger-pointing back in Ohio.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'speculation.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
First Known Use of speculation
Financial Definition of SPECULATION
What It Is
How It Works
Technically, anyone who buys or shorts a security with the expectation of a favorable price change is a speculator. For example, if a speculator believes XYZ Company stock is overpriced, they may short the stock, wait for the price to fall, and make a profit. It's possible to speculate on virtually every security, though speculation is especially concentrated in the commodities, futures, and derivatives markets.
But to really understand speculation, one must understand how it differs from hedging. Let's consider an example: let's assume part of your investment portfolio includes shares of Company XYZ, which manufactures autos. Because the auto industry is cyclical, Company XYZ shares will probably decline if the economy starts to deteriorate.
If you want to protect this investment -- that is, you want to hedge your investment -- one way to do that is to buy defensive stocks. You may choose "noncyclicals," or companies that sell basic necessities like toothpaste or toilet paper. During economic slumps, these stocks tend to hold or increase their value, which could offset the loss in value of the XYZ shares.
A speculator wouldn't follow this strategy. If a speculator purchased food-company stocks, he would do so because he simply believes the stock is going to increase.
Speculation can increase short-term volatility (and thus, risk). It can inflate prices and lead to bubbles, as was the case in the 2005-2006 real estate market in the United States. Speculators who were betting that home prices would continue to increase purchased houses (often using leverage) intending to "flip" them for a profit. This increased the demand for housing, which raised prices further, eventually taking them beyond the "true value" of the real estate in many markets. The frenzied selling that ensued is typical for speculative markets.
Why It Matters
Some people may see speculators as dangerous gamblers, but speculators actually provide much-needed liquidity to markets and are thus a vital component of market efficiency. Without them, many commodities markets, for example, would virtually grind to a halt because the only participants would be farmers and food companies. With fewer participants in a market, bid-ask spreads would widen and it would be much harder for buyers and sellers to find each other. The resulting illiquidity would dramatically increase the risk in that market.
SPECULATION Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of speculation for English Language Learners
: ideas or guesses about something that is not known
: activity in which someone buys and sells things (such as stocks or pieces of property) in the hope of making a large profit but with the risk of a large loss
SPECULATION Defined for Kids
Legal Definition of speculation
: an act or instance of speculating: as a : assumption of unusual business risk in hopes of obtaining commensurate gain b : a transaction involving such speculation
Learn More about speculation
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