spec·​u·​la·​tor ˈspe-kyə-ˌlā-tər How to pronounce speculator (audio)
plural speculators
: someone who speculates: such as
: a person who thinks or guesses especially in an idle or casual way about something that is unknown or uncertain
I sat Friday night in the dining room in front of my laptop, the TV in the next room flitting among experts and speculators about what happened in Paris …Scott Martelle
"… All that we ought to ask, therefore, is, that the witnesses of our conduct, and the speculators on our motives, should be capable of taking the highest view which the circumstances of the case may admit. …"Nathaniel Hawthorne
: a person who makes a relatively risky investment in something (such as stocks or real estate) in the hope of making a large short-term profit from market fluctuations
futures/currency speculators
By the late 1870s Edward Pray was living in New York City, still interested in mining but instead now as a speculator in mining stocks.Willa Kane
Over the years, many houses have been bought by speculators or real estate companies and rented out.Margaret Gillerman

Examples of speculator in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Flush with cash from not traveling or eating out and spurred on by low lending rates, speculators snapped up Rolex, Patek and other luxury models during 2021 and into 2022, betting that prices would keep increasing. Andy Hoffman, Fortune Europe, 8 May 2024 And throwing fuel on the fire are Chinese speculators betting that there is still room for appreciation. Claire Fu, New York Times, 5 May 2024 Digital World’s more than 400,000 retail investors included supporters of Trump and speculators hoping to cash in on the deal’s attention. Drew Harwell, Washington Post, 22 Mar. 2024 To these speculators, Hollywood looked like a gold mine: the studios and entertainment corporations were ripe with redundancies and inefficiencies to be axed—costs to be cut, parts to be sold, profits to be diverted to shareholders, executives, and new, often unrelated ventures. Daniel Bessner, Harper's Magazine, 21 Mar. 2024 While some voices have called for speculators to give Kate and the royal family some privacy, and others have suggested completely reasonable explanations for Kate’s disappearance, the fact remains: For one reason or another, people care about the royals. Aj Willingham, CNN, 15 Mar. 2024 Private builders and speculators responded actively, taking on debt and pursuing increasingly dubious projects so that even as China was meeting its housing needs, such development reached the astronomical level of some 30% of China’s economy. Milton Ezrati, Forbes, 1 Mar. 2024 Throughout his more than 75-year career, Munger argued that there were two types of people who buy shares in the stock market: investors and speculators. Will Daniel, Fortune, 26 Feb. 2024 But the Herald’s reporting shows that these foreclosures have often had the opposite effect, taking properties out of the hands of individual owners and delivering them to real estate speculators, and at a discount. Ben Wieder, Miami Herald, 26 Jan. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'speculator.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


speculate + -or entry 1; in earlier sense "observer, lookout," borrowed from Latin speculātor "scout, spy, sentinel," from speculārī "to keep a close watch on, spy out, watch for" + -tor, agent suffix — more at speculate

First Known Use

1555, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of speculator was in 1555

Dictionary Entries Near speculator

Cite this Entry

“Speculator.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/speculator. Accessed 22 May. 2024.

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