sup·​posed | \sə-ˈpōzd; senses 1b and 2a usually sə-ˈpō-zəd, senses 3 and 4 often sə-ˈpōst \

Definition of supposed 

1a : pretended twelve hours are supposed to elapse between Acts I and II— W. S. Gilbert

b : alleged trusted my supposed friends

2a : held as an opinion : believed also : mistakenly believed : imagined the sight which makes supposed terror true — William Shakespeare

b : considered probable or certain : expected it was not supposed that everybody could master the technical aspects— J. C. Murray

c : understood you will be supposed to refer to my grandaunt— G. B. Shaw

3 : made or fashioned by intent or design what's that button supposed to do

4a : required by or as if by authority soldiers are supposed to obey their commanding officers

b : given permission : permitted was not supposed to have visitors

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Other Words from supposed

supposedly \ sə-​ˈpō-​zəd-​lē also  -​ˈpōzd-​lē \ adverb

Examples of supposed in a Sentence

this new computer program is a supposed improvement over the old one

Recent Examples on the Web

But there is a darker side to the equation: Subsequent failures by the French team saw far-right politicians harp on the supposed lack of patriotism of nonwhite players. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, "The World Cup is a celebration of cosmopolitanism, until it isn’t," 4 July 2018 That does not hold true when the supposed leader of the free world—or his agents—do it. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "Why You Need to Say No to Civility," 27 June 2018 Also unconvincing is Continetti’s explanation that the main cause of this supposed collapse is immigration politics. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "The Democratic Party is on an identity quest.," 6 July 2018 But the supposed mine shaft that Yurovsky had selected for them to be dumped in turned out to be too shallow; local peasants would easily find the bodies and seek to preserve them as holy relics. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Inside the Romanov Family's Final Days," 1 July 2018 The harder question, which is being raised more often as reforms expand in scope and geography, is whether and when the regulatory state should override parental choice for the supposed benefit of the child. Bobby Jindal, WSJ, "The Moral Logic of School Choice," 25 June 2018 In any supposed golden age of American manufacturing, plenty of workers had unpleasant, dangerous, dirty and repetitive jobs. James Mackintosh, WSJ, "We Fight About Trade Because Politics Fails," 25 June 2018 In the space of two weeks in June, U.S. President Donald Trump first baited his supposed friends into a trade war by slapping tariffs on steel and aluminum from the European Union, Canada and other nations. Time, "Trump Is Trying to Dismantle the World Order. Is NATO Next on His List?," 22 June 2018 The supposed ills of gentrification—which might be more neutrally defined as poorer urban neighbourhoods becoming wealthier—lack rigorous support. The Economist, "In praise of gentrification," 21 June 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

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Statistics for supposed

Last Updated

5 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for supposed

The first known use of supposed was in the 15th century

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English Language Learners Definition of supposed

: claimed to be true or real


sup·​posed | \sə-ˈpōzd \

Kids Definition of supposed

1 : forced, expected, or required I am supposed to be home early.

2 : believed or claimed to be true or real the supposed murderer

3 : given permission I'm not supposed to stay out after dark.

Other Words from supposed

supposedly \ -​ˈpō-​zəd-​lē \ adverb

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Comments on supposed

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


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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