Definition of suppose in English:



  • 1[with clause] Think or assume that something is true or probable but lack proof or certain knowledge.

    ‘I suppose I got there about noon’
    [with object] ‘he supposed the girl to be about twelve’
    • ‘When we didn't laugh, I suppose he assumed that Jess hadn't been lying.’
    • ‘You could make arguments on this basis, I suppose, on either side.’
    • ‘I suppose what's worrying me is what happens when this is all over.’
    • ‘I suppose she assumed I would bust into tears again at any moment.’
    • ‘I only suppose there's going to be several stitches because it was such a deep cut.’
    • ‘He supposed what was troubling him was the question of fate, or destiny.’
    • ‘I'm shocked that it has come to this but I suppose the evidence has been there for a long time that this day would come.’
    • ‘I suppose the boy had assumed that I would be frightened off by now, but I didn't want to give him that satisfaction.’
    apparent, seeming, alleged, putative, reputed, rumoured, claimed, purported, ostensible, specious
    assume, dare say, take for granted, take as read, presume, expect, take it
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    1. 1.1Used to make a suggestion or a hesitant admission.
      [in imperative] ‘suppose we leave this to the police’
      ‘I'm quite a good actress, I suppose’
      • ‘Suppose you never need this type of care.’
      • ‘Suppose we landed on Mars and we saw a skyscraper.’
      • ‘On that basis, I suppose I should have ended up a cookery writer, but no matter.’
      • ‘I suppose in a way it's easier for women than for men.’
      • ‘Suppose we have an auction and no one shows up?’
      • ‘I suppose I live my life as a hermit.’
      • ‘If I were a real die-hard, there'd be no hesitation, I suppose; I don't love any popular icon that much.’
      • ‘Well, you know, that's a very good point, and I suppose one could assume they really don't have much option at the moment other than to stay as long as it takes.’
      • ‘I suppose I better leave it here tonight and let sleep work on it.’
      • ‘I suppose to some extent that's true.’
      • ‘I suppose, given the evidence, I should have realised earlier that he had gone to Germany voluntarily.’
      • ‘I suppose at some point we need to start thinking about decorating the nursery.’
      • ‘That is the basis, I suppose, upon which this court must approach it.’
      hypothesize, postulate, theorize, posit, speculate, assume, imagine
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    2. 1.2Used to introduce a hypothesis and imagine its development.
      ‘suppose he had been murdered—what then?’
      • ‘Let's suppose, hypothetically, that spam is accepted, so everybody can do it.’
      • ‘Continuing with my hypothetical example, suppose that this test were ordered for thirty percent of the American population.’
      • ‘For the sake of argument, let's suppose that we have a pile of cash that we can sacrifice for some noble cause.’
      • ‘To take a hypothetical case, suppose that, on day one, an unlawful trading activity starts which is not disclosed or prevented as a result of the defendant's negligence.’
      • ‘Imagine tossing a coin until it lands heads-up, and suppose that the payoff grows exponentially according to the number of tosses you make.’
      • ‘As a last example, suppose a development authority plans to build a barrage across an estuary to increase property values and generate opportunities for marina developments.’
      • ‘Finally, suppose that we hypothesize that there are races, and that the correct racial classification has a certain form.’
      • ‘And now suppose that, given the right introduction to jazz, you actually liked it.’
      • ‘Suppose that adoption has never previously been practised in our society, and suppose that someone proposes introducing it.’
    3. 1.3(of a theory or argument) assume or require that something is the case as a precondition.
      ‘the procedure supposes that a will has already been proved’
      [with object] ‘the theory supposes a predisposition to interpret utterances’
      • ‘The theory supposes that, while different people can possess some different beliefs about race, they share certain criterial beliefs and these serve to define the concept.’
      • ‘The argument against objectivity supposes that contaminating bias will distort all one's work.’
      • ‘He and others buy into what they call the belt-of-fat theory, which supposes that abdominal fat inhibits the stomach from ballooning.’
      • ‘This theory supposes that each offender in his true nature, a kind of rational or moral nature, sees that punishment is right in certain circumstances.’
      • ‘It started as the theory of permutation groups, but now the general theory of groups does not suppose that elements of groups should be permutations.’
      • ‘Rational-actor theory supposes that we make decisions by calm, essentially mathematical calculation of our own self-interest.’
      • ‘The theory of core accretion supposes the collisional accumulation of solid bodies, the process that is universally accepted as the formation mechanism of the terrestrial planets.’
      • ‘This hypothesis supposes that there is a suite of potential alleles at the imprinted locus, and each allele differs in its susceptibility to being imprinted.’
      • ‘Presentism and the growing-past theories must suppose that this event is both real and unreal because it's real for A but not real for B.’
      require, presuppose, imply, assume
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  • 2Be required to do something because of the position one is in or an agreement one has made.

    ‘I'm supposed to be meeting someone at the airport’
    • ‘I thought these sessions were supposed to have a positive effect, if anything.’
    • ‘I can understand that the acting was supposed to be choppy, and the sets were supposed to look fake.’
    • ‘Shawn pulled up to the abandoned building where the gang meeting was supposed to be.’
    • ‘My surprise meant it took a good few minutes before I realised what we were supposed to do with a live chicken.’
    • ‘You were supposed to take your shoes off at the front door, before you even got into the lobby!’
    • ‘Reforms in 2000 were supposed to achieve this aim but have not done so with any great success.’
    • ‘We were supposed to find out on Friday, but for various reasons they weren't able to get the information to us.’
    • ‘They were supposed to be a flexible product that would suit investors with different appetites for risk.’
    • ‘We were supposed to have our grandson this weekend so his mother can move house, but we have had to rearrange our plans.’
    • ‘Since I was a child, there have been many wars which were supposed to impact my life.’
    • ‘We were supposed to go upstairs for a meal but just couldn't face anybody.’
    • ‘Those plants were supposed to give us decades of electricity that would be too cheap to meter.’
    • ‘They were supposed to meet up with others and go to a party, but that didn't happen.’
    • ‘The consulting contract is supposed to reflect a meeting of the minds between the parties.’
    • ‘They were being too radical and I think they were supposed to be meeting in other people's houses.’
    • ‘We'd been up since 5am driving and were supposed to be meeting folks for a meal that night.’
    • ‘Men from the north in those days came from nomadic tribes and were supposed to be strong and brave.’
    • ‘The contractors who were supposed to be here on Thursday have decided they'd come today instead.’
    • ‘Relations between fishermen and scientists were supposed to be getting better before last week.’
    • ‘We had guns aimed at us by the police who were supposed to be there to protect and serve.’
    meant, intended, expected
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    1. 2.1[with negative]Be forbidden to do something.
      ‘I shouldn't have been in the study—I'm not supposed to go in there’
      • ‘In theory, they were not supposed to engage with the enemy, except when unavoidable.’
      • ‘In iconography and metaphor, women figured as symbols of knowledge, or as the object of knowledge, but in practical terms, they were not supposed to conduct scientific investigation themselves.’
      • ‘Women were not supposed to work outside the home.’
      • ‘The uniform was used as a cover for their activities back home, where they were not supposed to discuss their work with friends and family.’
      • ‘At about 4pm they went along the corridor to a music practice room - where they were not supposed to be - to use the piano.’
      • ‘I realize that this is exactly what I was not supposed to see.’
      • ‘She also pointed out that businesses were not supposed to put out directional signs unless they had applied for permission.’
      • ‘The only indicator was that the roof lights without a net remained uncovered, as they were not supposed to be worked on during that day.’
      • ‘There was so much we were not supposed to be capable of doing.’
      • ‘I thought the attorneys for the various parties were not supposed to be discussing the case.’
      • ‘In my mind, we were not supposed to be interested in dress, food and wine.’
      • ‘She was unaware at the time that the stairs were not supposed to be used.’
      • ‘Incidentally, Barbara was not supposed to be on that flight today.’
      • ‘Lee had astounded herself at this ability to preach, and she knew the source of this inner power, which women were not supposed to possess.’
      • ‘Gordon did not specify exactly what it was the staff members were not supposed to talk about.’
      • ‘Chinese women in ancient China were not supposed to go out and be seen in public.’
      • ‘To excuse that use of his name by saying the spies were not supposed to use real names is begging the question.’
      • ‘We saw glimpses of this in the 1980s with the invention of the fax machine, which more or less removed the mass media's ability to bury a story that the people were not supposed to know about.’
      • ‘The decision was made by an official and ministers were not supposed to interfere.’
      • ‘My friend, who was not supposed to be in Paris this weekend, appeared just after midnight, for a brief stop-over in preparation for some work the following day.’


  • i suppose so

    • Used to express hesitant agreement.

      ‘‘You see I have to do this?’ ‘I suppose so.’’
      • ‘Well, I suppose so, but sometimes it's okay to let the veneer crack.’
      • ‘‘I'd never really thought about it that way,’ said Brother Daniel, ‘but I suppose so, yes.’’
      • ‘Well, I suppose so, but one gets accustomed to it.’
      • ‘Well, if you want to think of it that way, I suppose so, but never entirely.’
      • ‘Jon did not see any suspicion in this question, so he replied calmly, ‘Yes, I suppose so.’’
      • ‘Um, I suppose so, though I haven't made any plans.’
      • ‘Yes, yes, I suppose so and people could have asked that.’
      • ‘‘Well, yeah, I suppose so,’ she agreed resentfully.’
      • ‘‘Um, I suppose so,’ he answers, a bit uncertain.’
      • ‘‘Well, I suppose so,’ she affirmed uncertainly.’


Middle English: from Old French supposer, from Latin supponere (from sub- from below + ponere to place), but influenced by Latin suppositus set under and Old French poser to place.