spec·u·la·tive | \ˈspe-kyə-lə-tiv, -ˌlā-\

Definition of speculative 

1 : involving, based on, or constituting intellectual speculation also : theoretical rather than demonstrable speculative knowledge

2 : marked by questioning curiosity gave him a speculative glance

3 : of, relating to, or being a financial speculation speculative stocks speculative venture

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Other Words from speculative

speculatively adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for speculative


academic (also academical), conjectural, hypothetical, suppositional, theoretical (also theoretic)


actual, factual, real

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Examples of speculative in a Sentence

His conclusions are highly speculative. a writer with a speculative mind a speculative boom in housing construction
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Recent Examples on the Web

Until then, strap in and enjoy the speculative ride. SI.com, "Real Madrid Deny Rumours of Dropping Cristiano Ronaldo's Release Clause to €120m," 29 June 2018 This issue is not reliant on speculative execution, and is therefore unrelated to Spectre or Meltdown. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "Hyperthreading under scrutiny with new TLBleed crypto key leak," 25 June 2018 Three perfect touches to take the ball from a speculative punt upfield to what remains one of the ultimate moments of skill ever displayed in a World Cup. CNN, "World Cup 2018: Every matchup and kickoff time listed," 13 June 2018 The move was based on a speculative bet that the state would prevail in a fight against the major sports leagues to legalize sports betting. NBC News, "The NBA and MLB quietly hustle for a cut of the sports betting jackpot," 7 June 2018 Certainly, speculative fiction writers since at least Octavia Butler, the first science fiction writer to win a MacArthur Grant, have looked beyond Europe for inspiration. Donna Bryson, The Christian Science Monitor, "After decades of dwarfs and elves, writers of color redefine fantasy," 21 May 2018 Their current, admittedly speculative, hypothesis is that the biliverdin-rich blood protects against parasites. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "These Lizards Evolved Toxic Green Blood," 17 May 2018 Part of the problem was that so much of what filled the ESPN’s dead time was by nature speculative or rehash, with little solid new information to play with and discuss. Phil Rosenthal, chicagotribune.com, "ESPN's NBA lottery slog made 6th round coverage of NFL draft seem like 'Hamilton'," 16 May 2018 The concept of indirectly curbing cancer by cutting an immune system brake is no longer speculative. Marie Mccullough, Philly.com, "Can the abortion pill treat advanced lung cancer? This infertility expert wants to find out," 3 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'speculative.' 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 speculative

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

12 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for speculative

The first known use of speculative was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of speculative

: based on guesses or ideas about what might happen or be true rather than on facts

: tending to think about what might happen or be true : tending to speculate

: showing curiosity or uncertainty


spec·u·la·tive | \ˈspe-kyə-lə-tiv, -ˌlā- \

Legal Definition of speculative 

1 : involving, based on, or constituting intellectual speculation also : theoretical rather than demonstrable speculative medical testimony concerning the cause of death

2 : of, relating to, or being a financial speculation speculative securities speculative home building

Other Words from speculative

speculatively adverb

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