Definition of speculate in English:



  • 1Form a theory or conjecture about a subject without firm evidence.

    ‘my colleagues speculate about my private life’
    with clause ‘observers speculated that the authorities wished to improve their image’
    • ‘Orwell astutely speculated that ‘quite possibly that particular fashion will not last.’’
    • ‘Oliver speculated that sometimes when people who are driven to succeed are placed under unbearable stress and can't bring themselves to quit, they do something that forces them to quit.’
    • ‘Researchers speculated that organically grown plants are subject to more environmental challenges and therefore have stronger antioxidant defenses.’
    • ‘But a lot of people speculated that that was the case.’
    • ‘Cohen at first speculated that the attacker may have been ‘just blagging’ and that he was only visiting the area, but later admitted that this was unlikely.’
    • ‘Many court watchers speculated that Stewart was probably smarter than all the lawyers put together and could hold up very well on cross-examination.’
    • ‘Fischer speculated that the shifting social status of women during the war years stoked male anxiety about female bonding and independence from men.’
    • ‘He also speculated that she may have been killed somewhere else and dumped at the spot, between 2 am and 6.30 am.’
    • ‘Ms Lee speculated that a library may be interested in purchasing the collection, with previous press reports suggesting the British Library.’
    • ‘He speculated that Katherine therefore had fallen out of a shattered window, adding: ‘If she had been wearing a seatbelt, that wouldn't have happened.’’
    • ‘O'Connor speculated that the funding ‘might lead to a greater focus on education, but we don't know now.’’
    • ‘Some speculated that it was, because there was limited evidence that another race had existed there once.’
    • ‘Some analysts have speculated that the ECB could cut interest rates soon to ward off damage to confidence and growth from tumbling share prices.’
    • ‘Some have speculated that it stems from the fact that most women are still regarded as outsiders in the corporate world, thus freeing them to do the right thing instead of the convenient thing.’
    • ‘Thompson speculated that this was probably the reason why Muskie had been acting so ‘erratic’ of late.’
    • ‘Andersen speculated that the amount would hover around $15,000.’
    • ‘A lot of people speculated that the family was simply a prop.’
    • ‘Dr. Penney, in his evidence, speculated that the error was a typographical one.’
    • ‘Some time ago, I speculated that I thought the information age would be a tool that would ultimately make it difficult for governments to justify war.’
    • ‘Another delegate speculated that the Governor's extensive scriptwriting experience in Hollywood inspired the phrase.’
    conjecture, theorize, form theories, hypothesize, make suppositions, postulate, guess, make guesses, surmise
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  • 2Invest in stocks, property, or other ventures in the hope of gain but with the risk of loss.

    ‘he didn't look as though he had the money to speculate in shares’
    • ‘How many are taking advantage of real estate inflation and mortgage interest deductibility to fund their retirement accounts or otherwise speculate in the markets?’
    • ‘And, did it become popular to borrow in Euros to speculate in higher-yielding Mexican or Brazilian securities?’
    • ‘It lets traders and investors speculate on the rate of fluctuation for US stocks.’
    • ‘October is one of the most dangerous months to speculate in shares.’
    • ‘So you'd like to speculate on the stock market, but find the publicly quoted companies a bit too dry?’
    • ‘Large capitalists can invest in government bonds, or they can speculate in stocks and commodities whose price is soaring due to the inflation.’
    • ‘Let's just walk through some of the steps of this, if you actually are going to go out and speculate in the marketplace.’
    • ‘Interest rates were stable under the gold standard, and the small variation in bond prices did not admit a profitable opportunity to speculate in bonds.’
    • ‘Amidst his wife and the other two techies, he has no interest in this new technology, happier taking walks in the quarry by a ruined church than speculating on internet stocks.’
    • ‘Business profits also allowed him to speculate in hinterland real estate, railroad stocks, and other enterprises in the hope of further returns.’
    • ‘You should only speculate with risk capital (money you can afford to lose).’
    • ‘Gambling on sports is like speculating on the stock market.’
    • ‘During the 1880s a number of banks had speculated in the property market and been left holding worthless bits of paper.’
    • ‘Many finance executives suspect the new rules have less to do with improving financial statements than with discouraging treasury departments from speculating with derivatives.’
    • ‘But it seems some investors were willing to speculate on the stock before that.’
    • ‘Spread bets carry a very high level of risk to your capital; only speculate with money you can afford to lose.’
    • ‘And the legions of other day traders who speculated on internet stocks are long gone.’
    • ‘A hedge fund borrows money to speculate in the stock market.’
    • ‘And hedge funds, which make money by speculating on the stock market, may also cause further volatility in the coming days.’
    • ‘Fannie officials say they are in control of their risks and don't speculate with derivatives.’
    gamble, take a chance, take a risk, venture, take a venture, wager
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Late 16th century: from Latin speculat- ‘observed from a vantage point’, from the verb speculari, from specula ‘watchtower’, from specere ‘to look’.