Definition of guess in English:



  • 1 Estimate or conclude (something) without sufficient information to be sure of being correct.

    ‘she guessed the child's age at 14 or 15’
    [with clause] ‘he took her aside and I guessed that he was offering her a job’
    [no object] ‘we can only guess at Alan's motives’
    • ‘I'm thinking ‘probably not’ and guessing it would be a pointless and frustrating distraction to both you and me.’
    • ‘I am guessing that none of this makes any sense to those of you who are not from Georgia or the South, so allow me to explain the behavior of my people.’
    • ‘Plus I'm guessing it'll be populated by wannabe hard nuts.’
    • ‘Judging from the dust and general disrepair Xander guessed it hadn't been used in years.’
    • ‘Although I haven't got the facts to hand, I'm guessing most pundits would also have predicted an up year for the market in 2001.’
    • ‘One of us is wrong, and I'm guessing it might be me.’
    • ‘I haven't counted how much I received so far yet, but I'm guessing wallets are light and belts are tightening.’
    • ‘I'm guessing the networks are already quietly preparing to open their own web services for this purpose.’
    • ‘I'm guessing the author doesn't know how much she has in common with me.’
    • ‘Judging from the moon's angle overhead, she guessed it was past midnight already.’
    • ‘I'm guessing it's something to do with his cold, black heart, although maybe that's unfair.’
    • ‘Given the functional illiteracy on either side of it, I'm guessing it was a half-understood attempt to find a rhyme for a line that makes no sense anyway.’
    • ‘I have no idea whether you need a visa for Russia, either, so would need to get that sorted out first and I'm guessing the beginning of February might be too soon.’
    • ‘It was well good, you get lots of freebies, just a shame I'm not a big chocolate person, but I'm guessing TP will be very grateful for them.’
    • ‘I wasn't sure who she directed the comment to but I was guessing it was Max.’
    • ‘I'm guessing contracts involved dumptrucks full of money for everyone involved to do such a project.’
    • ‘A note especially to ladies and gay men: when a guy guesses your age, always add four years to his estimate, because that's the age he thinks you really are.’
    • ‘The informant laughed when he told her, so she guessed it must be someone important.’
    • ‘But I'm guessing the pictures on the screens and most of the reportage in the papers is nothing to do with morals or politics.’
    • ‘It'll be six months since I moved into the new place - which has crept up on me - and I'm guessing it's a year since my housemate moved in.’
    estimate, calculate, approximate, make a guess at, make an estimate of
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Form a correct conclusion about (something) by guessing.
      [with clause] ‘she's guessed where we're going’
      • ‘As you may have guessed by now I believe adoption is a good course of action for many teenage mums.’
      • ‘She never imagined that anyone would guess that password but it seems they did.’
      • ‘I just discovered that it is the perfect size for a bottle of… yes, you guessed it.’
      • ‘Only I know, but I'll give a part to whoever guesses the correct answer.’
      • ‘The person who correctly guessed the number of balls in Sue's desk won a ticket to the final of the European Championship in Lisbon.’
      • ‘Instead of guessing the score, you recited your imaginary measurements!’
      • ‘It's time to take the casket out of the church, and you guessed it, it weighs a ton!’
      • ‘We are then asked to guess her bra size from a number of options.’
      • ‘Anyone who has ever watched romantic comedies can probably guess how the rest of this gem of a movie develops.’
      • ‘Whoever guesses the correct code will win the necklace, which is 18 carat white gold and set with a 0.3-carat diamond.’
      • ‘I still haven't told my family, although I suspect they've already guessed.’
      • ‘Five of you managed to guess two numbers correctly, but alas nobody got three or more right.’
      • ‘Yup, you guessed it, they wanted more information from me and I've had my telepathy switched off so I didn't know.’
      • ‘So now, even worms try to guess the passwords we keep on these machines.’
      • ‘It's easy to guess the inevitable response because people are genuinely predictable.’
      • ‘I am sure you can guess the verdict; jaw-dropping effects and cringeworthy dialogue.’
      • ‘Instead they think of ways to get your data without randomly guessing the password.’
      • ‘You can guess whose graves these are, so I won't say it.’
      • ‘They are there instead of plying their trade on the streets expecting to meet, you've guessed it, a foreigner.’
      • ‘We tend to assume that because we can guess the name of some very popular sites that the naming scheme works and makes sense.’
    2. 1.2informal Used to indicate that although one thinks or supposes something, it is without any great conviction or strength of feeling.
      [with clause] ‘I guess I'd better tell you everything’
      • ‘So I guess this is probably a good time to do an entry on the birthday celebrations.’
      • ‘So I guess it is time to go and rest my head on the pillow, and let unconsciousness drown those thoughts.’
      • ‘I guess the secret is making sure that you have fabulously large sunglasses and a means of capturing events.’
      • ‘I guess the answer is to get this information out there so people can't ignore it any more.’
      • ‘I guess it's easy to criticise America and I'm sure the UK is no better in many respects.’
      • ‘Its primary purpose, I guess, is to plug her books, but it contains quite a lot of other stuff.’
      • ‘It is a good method of getting people to donate in the leadup to election day I guess.’
      • ‘I guess it also gave him a chance to judge our skills in different situations.’
      • ‘I guess only time and my son's evolving temperament will determine what I should do.’
      • ‘Well I guess calling it by its real name here can't do any harm compared to this.’
      • ‘Ah well, I guess many of us are stupid and cynical and don't think things through when we are young.’
      • ‘Overall, I guess the most interesting part of the film was the attending audience.’
      • ‘So I guess I owe it to myself not to wash any of the colour out of the telling.’
      • ‘So I guess the conclusion is that this is a mediocre, eminently forgettable album.’
      • ‘So I guess that by about 2020 the politicians will be taking half our money off us in taxes.’
      • ‘I guess it's time to fix my mortgage rate, which I should have done earlier.’
      • ‘I guess the most intriguing information I would have to share would be insight to your host.’
      • ‘I guess it's fairly predictable that I would instantly fall in love with a song that has such an expressive title.’
      • ‘History, I guess, will tell if our efforts prove enough or not for our World Cup chances.’
      • ‘You are free, I guess, to take your pick in relation to these and similar options.’
      suppose, think, believe, imagine, expect, assume, presume, judge, consider, feel, suspect, dare say, fancy, divine, deem, conjecture, surmise, conclude, hazard a guess, be of the opinion, be given to understand
      View synonyms


  • An estimate or conclusion formed by guessing.

    ‘my guess is that within a year we will have a referendum’
    • ‘Well, there are lots of guesses out there, but it's hard to predict with any degree of accuracy.’
    • ‘Without complete designs for these projects, cost estimates are only wild guesses.’
    • ‘What we do is quite the reverse: that we form theories, or if that is too sophisticated a word, we make guesses, we have hunches and we test these guesses and hunches and theories against reality.’
    • ‘In contrast, a government that commits to the consequences of various actions on emissions can only hope that its estimates, or guesses, are on target, and so can its partners.’
    • ‘And an evaluation of these environmental variables would save us from a wrong guess here.’
    • ‘On paper both teams are equally balanced and to predict the winner is your guess is as good as mine.’
    • ‘They make guesses, set up provisional theories about what things mean, or how they might be expressed, and modify them in the light of experience.’
    • ‘Is anybody going to solve the theory and make a guess to what exactly is going on?’
    • ‘First of all, my guess is we'll hear Premiers bickering over health funding within a year.’
    • ‘But until now estimates of the shark harvest were little more than guesses, because the numbers depended on shark fishers to report their catches.’
    • ‘Estimates on the death toll are a guess as of now, but will probably be in excess of 10,000.’
    • ‘My guess is that there used to be flights at that stage directly from New Zealand.’
    • ‘Judgment is the ability to combine hard data, questionable data, and intuitive guesses to arrive at a conclusion that events prove to be correct.’
    • ‘Obviously, no one knows what the numbers or weights are - we can only make guesses, and we can argue about the assumptions underlying those guesses.’
    • ‘The projections are only guesses, based on assumptions that workers will be with the company their entire careers and will receive annual raises.’
    • ‘This is because we have to make guesses, judgments, and assumptions about who other people are and what they want.’
    • ‘It allows, even encourages, inventive guesses, strange coincidences, popular theories with or without evidence.’
    • ‘The trouble with this is that many of the available numbers are guesses described as estimates.’
    • ‘To what extent was it based on estimates, guesses and interpretations, however well-founded?’
    • ‘However, my best guesses are nothing compared to the insights of someone who actually manages to pull off good service.’
    hypothesis, theory, prediction, postulation, conjecture
    conclusion, belief, opinion, surmise, estimate, reckoning, judgement, supposition, assumption, speculation, notion, suspicion, impression, feeling
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  • anybody's (or anyone's) guess

    • Very difficult or impossible to determine.

      ‘how well the system will work is anybody's guess’
      • ‘How many Pittsburghers will know what they really are celebrating is anyone's guess.’
      • ‘Whether anyone will develop on the new land is anyone's guess.’
      • ‘What to do about this imbalance is anyone's guess; but it does exist.’
      • ‘Whether she can maintain the form and the focus until the US Open is anyone's guess but at least she knows that she is a champion again.’
      • ‘Although, again, why she was bothering with him is anyone's guess.’
      • ‘How the markets will react in the weeks ahead is anyone's guess however.’
      • ‘This Christmas it was a bridge replacement, so whether things will be running on time tomorrow morning is anyone's guess.’
      • ‘Now, it's anyone's guess who was the intended target of his verbal charge.’
      • ‘Some of these will make fortunes for their directors and some will not, but it's anyone's guess which will thrive and which will fail.’
      • ‘It is anyone's guess if Easter Sunday will be resurrection day for him.’
  • keep someone guessing

    • informal Leave someone uncertain or in doubt as to one's intentions or plans.

      • ‘The plot kept me guessing and I didn't see the twist end coming at all - which is extremely rare…’
      • ‘I am confident it meant something, though what it was kept me guessing.’
      • ‘But there was one booth in particular that kept me guessing.’
      • ‘But they were kept guessing by the weather until the day itself, with heavy rain falling during the days in the run-up to the event.’
      • ‘To some extent I think it's the playwright's intention to keep us guessing.’
      • ‘But she kept them guessing, only confirming her presence after winning last weekend's Irish championship.’
      • ‘Here, the agenda is wrapped up quite nicely in a complex relationship that keeps us guessing about Alice's true intentions.’
      • ‘This was intentionally to keep you guessing, which by itself isn't a bad thing.’
      • ‘I was disappointed - they should have kept us guessing.’
      • ‘Here, it was a citrus sauce with a packet-mix consistency and overpowering artificial flavourings that kept me guessing.’


Middle English: origin uncertain; perhaps from Dutch gissen, and probably related to get.