speculate

play
verb spec·u·late \ˈspe-kyə-ˌlāt\

Definition of speculate

speculated

;

speculating

  1. intransitive verb
  2. 1a :  to meditate on or ponder a subject :  reflectb :  to review something idly or casually and often inconclusively

  3. 2 :  to assume a business risk in hope of gain; especially :  to buy or sell in expectation of profiting from market fluctuations

  4. transitive verb
  5. 1 :  to take to be true on the basis of insufficient evidence :  theorize

  6. 2 :  to be curious or doubtful about :  wonder speculates whether it will rain all vacation

speculator

play \ˈspe-kyə-ˌlā-tər\ noun

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Examples of speculate in a Sentence

  1. She could only speculate about her friend's motives.

  2. He speculated as to whether she would come.

  3. We don't know what happened—we can only speculate.

  4. speculating on the stock market

Recent Examples of speculate from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of speculate

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

Synonym Discussion of 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

SPECULATE Defined for English Language Learners

speculate

play
verb

Definition of speculate for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids

speculate

play
verb spec·u·late \ˈspe-kyə-ˌlāt\

Definition of speculate for Students

speculated

;

speculating

  1. 1 :  to think or wonder about something

  2. 2 :  to come up with ideas or theories about something

  3. 3 :  to engage in a risky but possibly very profitable business deal


Law Dictionary

speculate

play
verb spec·u·late \ˈspe-kyə-ˌlāt\

Legal Definition of speculate

speculated

speculating

  1. intransitive verb
  2. 1 :  to theorize on the basis of insufficient evidence Editor's note: A jury is not permitted to speculate on a matter about which insufficient evidence has been presented in reaching its verdict.

  3. 2 :  to assume a business risk in hope of gain; especially :  to buy or sell in expectation of profiting from market fluctuations

  4. transitive verb
  5. :  to take to be true on the basis of insufficient evidence

speculator

\-ˌlā-tər\ play noun


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