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’
    • ‘The technique operates on the principle that several heads are better than one when identifying problems, solving problems, or making conjectures about the future.’
    • ‘Scholars can offer us only conjectures about who wrote it, who the intended audience was, and where and when it was written.’
    • ‘So we sat, the last few hours, thinking about the last few months and making conjectures about the future.’
    • ‘Please avoid general conjectures about when such unreliable assurances must doubtless have been made.’
    • ‘I am only making a conjecture based on website flight information.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 I guess the conjecture can continue through the foreseeable future.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The mass media have reported every single act of violence, however insignificant, making conjectures about its terrorist nature.’
    • ‘Would they consider preconceived biases having influenced their conjectures?’
    • ‘Until then, the issues that John claimed to be ‘pointing out’ are just opinion and conjecture.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘His exact reasons for calling it quits remained a matter for heated public conjecture.’
    • ‘You must not be influenced by sentiment, conjecture, sympathy, passion, prejudice, public opinion, or public feeling.’
    • ‘The conjecture is that speculators are acting on insider information.’
    • ‘I treated that information as plausible conjecture and afforded it credibility as such.’
    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. 1.1 An unproven mathematical or scientific theorem.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Indeed, this is far from a theoretical conjecture.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Elemental cowboy concerns of earth and air are replaced by the abstract academic conjectures of scientists.’
      • ‘This work continues the tradition of mathematical experiment to help discover patterns, suggest conjectures, and develop new theorems.’
      • ‘And has the conjecture been supported by rigorous mathematics or a mere dismissal?’
      • ‘But they also inspire new conjectures and ideas.’
      • ‘Third, scientists should regard theories as at best interesting conjectures.’
      • ‘This conjecture was worked on by many famous mathematicians.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Maybe there just is no mathematical proof whatsoever which decides the conjecture.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The generalised Poincaré conjecture has since been shown for all dimensions greater than 4, but the original conjecture has so far remained unproven.’
      • ‘He proposed a demarcation criterion that, in his view, made the distinction between scientific theories and non-scientific conjectures.’
      • ‘What leads a mathematician to make a conjecture?’
      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’
    • ‘She resembles nothing more than one of those Neolithic ‘goddess’ figurines for which a fertility significance is usually conjectured.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In places where those records are incomplete or lost, we are left to conjecture when people from past centuries were born.’
    • ‘It is conjectured that natural selection tuned the average connectivity in such a way that the network reaches a sparse graph of connections.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As an adhesive, we conjecture that energy in the fibrils is lost upon decohesion and unloading.’
    • ‘Therefore, this hypothesis conjectures that population density should be positively correlated with patch area.’
    • ‘Given this procedural assumption, that integration often creates a need for further integration, it is possible to conjecture the future development.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘On the basis of this evidence, plus incredible intuition, he conjectured that all the complex zeros are on the critical line.’
    • ‘This sort of cannibalism is an activity that scientists have long imagined and conjectured and in fact predicted but had never seen before.’
    • ‘I can only conjecture the reasons that the organisers had for arranging this visit.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Of course, if that had been the case I would conjecture the set would grow from two discs to about 48.’
    • ‘Further, it was conjectured that the adolescents mistook superficial emotions, such as excitement and security, for genuine feelings of well-being.’
    • ‘From this, we conjecture global stability in certain cases.’
    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).
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There are several cases, however, where I have had to conjecture a reading of the text in order to make sense of it.’


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.