Definition of conjecture in English:



  • 1An opinion or conclusion formed on the basis of incomplete information.

    ‘conjectures about the newcomer were many and varied’
    [mass noun] ‘a matter for conjecture’
    • ‘I treated that information as plausible conjecture and afforded it credibility as such.’
    • ‘You must not be influenced by sentiment, conjecture, sympathy, passion, prejudice, public opinion, or public feeling.’
    • ‘Scholars can offer us only conjectures about who wrote it, who the intended audience was, and where and when it was written.’
    • ‘His exact reasons for calling it quits remained a matter for heated public conjecture.’
    • ‘At the same time, I willingly sign up to support longer-range conjectures about the place and purpose of social tools, in general, and explicit software networking technologies, in specific.’
    • ‘So we sat, the last few hours, thinking about the last few months and making conjectures about the future.’
    • ‘She dispelled my early conjectures about my own children's unearthly wisdom and helped me realize that virtually everything they did and said came from practicing what they saw and heard.’
    • ‘Until then, the issues that John claimed to be ‘pointing out’ are just opinion and conjecture.’
    • ‘I am only making a conjecture based on website flight information.’
    • ‘And to be unfeminine - too masculine, in other words - is to invite savage personal attacks, intense scrutiny, and conjectures about one's sexuality.’
    • ‘The refreshing night breeze suddenly seemed much more appealing than spending the next half hour sitting amongst people who were making false conjectures about me.’
    • ‘The technique operates on the principle that several heads are better than one when identifying problems, solving problems, or making conjectures about the future.’
    • ‘Would they consider preconceived biases having influenced their conjectures?’
    • ‘It was as though I had opened a faucet that everyone was just waiting to see opened, so they could start throwing the conjecture around.’
    • ‘The conjecture is that speculators are acting on insider information.’
    • ‘For the rest of the morning she issued conjectures about the change in her social status this swingset would bring about.’
    • ‘Our conjecture is that, in general, contextual information requires more attentional resources and intentional processing to encode and to retrieve than does item information.’
    • ‘So I guess the conjecture can continue through the foreseeable future.’
    • ‘Please avoid general conjectures about when such unreliable assurances must doubtless have been made.’
    • ‘The mass media have reported every single act of violence, however insignificant, making conjectures about its terrorist nature.’
    guess, speculation, surmise, fancy, notion, belief, suspicion, presumption, assumption, theory, hypothesis, postulation, supposition
    inference, extrapolation, projection
    approximation, estimate, rough calculation, rough idea
    guesswork, guessing, surmising, imagining, theorizing
    guesstimate, shot in the dark
    ballpark figure
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    1. 1.1An unproven mathematical or scientific theorem.
      • ‘Indeed, this is far from a theoretical conjecture.’
      • ‘He proposed a demarcation criterion that, in his view, made the distinction between scientific theories and non-scientific conjectures.’
      • ‘The generalised Poincaré conjecture has since been shown for all dimensions greater than 4, but the original conjecture has so far remained unproven.’
      • ‘Scientific theories are conjectures based upon interpretations of the data, and therefore are never ‘proven’, but merely supported or not by such interpretations.’
      • ‘Decades ago, mathematicians proved the corresponding conjectures for spheres of four dimensions and higher.’
      • ‘Mathematical proofs of conjectures, however, require more than overwhelming numerical evidence.’
      • ‘What leads a mathematician to make a conjecture?’
      • ‘This work continues the tradition of mathematical experiment to help discover patterns, suggest conjectures, and develop new theorems.’
      • ‘Third, scientists should regard theories as at best interesting conjectures.’
      • ‘There still remain unproven conjectures such as the finiteness and consistency of any superstring theory, past the first three terms of a certain approximation scheme.’
      • ‘But they also inspire new conjectures and ideas.’
      • ‘Everyone knows it holds true for every number you can think of but provide rigorous mathematical proof and you win yourself a million bucks - courtesy of the book's publisher, and in the process turn a conjecture into a theorem.’
      • ‘Maybe there just is no mathematical proof whatsoever which decides the conjecture.’
      • ‘By providing a molecular model of how the protein moves, experimental ideas and conjectures on the proton transfer process can be considered in some detail.’
      • ‘And has the conjecture been supported by rigorous mathematics or a mere dismissal?’
      • ‘This conjecture was worked on by many famous mathematicians.’
      • ‘Unable to deliver any semblance of scientific validity for their conjectures and unwilling to wait until their notions pass scientific muster, they have only the political process available.’
      • ‘Elemental cowboy concerns of earth and air are replaced by the abstract academic conjectures of scientists.’
      • ‘Always cheerful, always available, he enjoyed long debates with his students during which he would toss out original ideas and propose conjectures, or sketching the lines of a proof.’
      • ‘Such workshops will allow scientists to turn conjectures based on one instrument's tantalizing results into conclusions based on many separate lines of evidence.’
      concept, idea, notion, thought, generality, generalization, theory, theorem, formula, hypothesis, speculation, supposition, presumption
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    2. 1.2[mass noun](in textual criticism) the suggestion of a reading of a text not present in the original source.
      • ‘He is aware of the present trend away from textual conjecture.’
      • ‘He was as sparing with critical opinions as he was with textual conjecture - only about ten percent of his notes might be called judicial.’


  • 1[reporting verb] Form an opinion or supposition about (something) on the basis of incomplete information.

    [with clause] ‘many conjectured that she had a second husband in mind’
    • ‘Of course, if that had been the case I would conjecture the set would grow from two discs to about 48.’
    • ‘He conjectured results about the number of solutions to polynomial equations over the integers using intuition on how algebraic topology should apply in this novel situation.’
    • ‘Without conjecturing about the specifics of the various relationships, let's say that hypothetically they're intimidated by her due to her fairly strong personality, intelligence and beauty.’
    • ‘Given this procedural assumption, that integration often creates a need for further integration, it is possible to conjecture the future development.’
    • ‘She resembles nothing more than one of those Neolithic ‘goddess’ figurines for which a fertility significance is usually conjectured.’
    • ‘It was also conjectured that individuals with high levels of anxious/ambivalent attachment would seek to maintain an extremely close relationship with their families because of fear of abandonment.’
    • ‘From this, we conjecture global stability in certain cases.’
    • ‘In places where those records are incomplete or lost, we are left to conjecture when people from past centuries were born.’
    • ‘On the basis of this evidence, plus incredible intuition, he conjectured that all the complex zeros are on the critical line.’
    • ‘It was conjectured that a spiral walkway would have led around the hill allowing a procession to reach the 120-foot high summit for pre-historic ceremonies.’
    • ‘I can only conjecture the reasons that the organisers had for arranging this visit.’
    • ‘Therefore, this hypothesis conjectures that population density should be positively correlated with patch area.’
    • ‘This sort of cannibalism is an activity that scientists have long imagined and conjectured and in fact predicted but had never seen before.’
    • ‘Further, it was conjectured that the adolescents mistook superficial emotions, such as excitement and security, for genuine feelings of well-being.’
    • ‘It is conjectured that natural selection tuned the average connectivity in such a way that the network reaches a sparse graph of connections.’
    • ‘As an adhesive, we conjecture that energy in the fibrils is lost upon decohesion and unloading.’
    • ‘Immediately after the accident it was conjectured that the dress had caught fire through contact with a cigarette or a lighted match, thrown down from a higher place above the stairs.’
    • ‘Because of its posture, if it had been a human being, one might conjecture it was melancholy with a slight reluctance as to what it was doing, akin to a child in pursuit of a lost toy.’
    • ‘It was conjectured that English-speaking Chinese youth identify less with Chinese culture and are more isolated from their Chinese peers.’
    • ‘Based on experimental evidence he was able to conjecture certain laws which were not verified until many years later.’
    guess, speculate, surmise, infer, fancy, imagine, believe, think, suspect, presume, assume, hypothesize, take as a hypothesis, theorize, form a theory, formulate a theory, suppose
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    1. 1.1(in textual criticism) propose (a reading).
      • ‘There are several cases, however, where I have had to conjecture a reading of the text in order to make sense of it.’
      • ‘As he conjectures that the story is not about the mutually longed-for tryst that he had read into her letters, he questions his own ability to interpret what is figured in a text.’


Late Middle English (in the senses ‘to divine’ and ‘divination’): from Old French, or from Latin conjectura, from conicere put together in thought, from con- together + jacere throw.