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

Director Comey's memory of these interactions was equivocal and speculative, while Mr. McCabe's recollection is clear, unequivocal and supported by documentary evidence. Pamela Brown, CNN, "Internal FBI report shows discrepancy between McCabe and Comey accounts," 30 Mar. 2018 It should be reiterated that the Telegraph report is an unconfirmed rumor of a change for which no rollout timeline exists, so all these questions remain purely speculative. Aja Romano, Vox, "Twitter’s rumored killing of the “like” button highlights its misplaced priorities," 29 Oct. 2018 While this speculative design was never completed, its influence looms large over the museum and art worlds. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Masterpieces of Robert Venturi, a postmodern architecture icon," 20 Sep. 2018 The Oranges and Whisky Example Hinman’s speech nixed the notion that tokens that have a utility (as opposed to being purely speculative) are not securities. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, "The SEC's Big Cryptocurrency Speech: 5 Things to Know," 15 June 2018 Ethical objections to his cavalier experiments or concerns about the purely speculative basis of his dangerous interventions, Ms. Frank seems to think, can safely be set aside. Andrew Scull, WSJ, "‘The Pleasure Shock’ Review: This Is Your Brain On Batteries," 18 Mar. 2018 These sorts of innovations are far less speculative than the business model experimentations of the Internet era. Jason Pontin, BostonGlobe.com, "Is Boston biotech in a bubble?," 20 Mar. 2018 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

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

7 Dec 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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Comments on speculative

What made you want to look up speculative? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


living or existing for a long time

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