Definition of suppose in English:

suppose

verb

  • 1with 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’
    • ‘I suppose she assumed I would bust into tears again at any moment.’
    • ‘I suppose what's worrying me is what happens when this is all over.’
    • ‘I only suppose there's going to be several stitches because it was such a deep cut.’
    • ‘I suppose the boy had assumed that I would be frightened off by now, but I didn't want to give him that satisfaction.’
    • ‘He supposed what was troubling him was the question of fate, or destiny.’
    • ‘When we didn't laugh, I suppose he assumed that Jess hadn't been lying.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘You could make arguments on this basis, I suppose, on either side.’
    assume, dare say, take for granted, take as read, presume, expect, take it
    apparent, seeming, alleged, putative, reputed, rumoured, claimed, purported, ostensible, specious
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Used 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’
      • ‘I suppose at some point we need to start thinking about decorating the nursery.’
      • ‘I suppose I live my life as a hermit.’
      • ‘That is the basis, I suppose, upon which this court must approach it.’
      • ‘Suppose you never need this type of care.’
      • ‘If I were a real die-hard, there'd be no hesitation, I suppose; I don't love any popular icon that much.’
      • ‘Suppose we landed on Mars and we saw a skyscraper.’
      • ‘I suppose I better leave it here tonight and let sleep work on it.’
      • ‘I suppose in a way it's easier for women than for men.’
      • ‘On that basis, I suppose I should have ended up a cookery writer, but no matter.’
      • ‘Suppose we have an auction and no one shows up?’
      • ‘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 to some extent that's true.’
      • ‘I suppose, given the evidence, I should have realised earlier that he had gone to Germany voluntarily.’
      hypothesize, postulate, theorize, posit, speculate, say, let's say, assume, imagine
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    2. 1.2 Used to introduce a hypothesis and imagine its development.
      ‘suppose he had been murdered—what then?’
      • ‘Continuing with my hypothetical example, suppose that this test were ordered for thirty percent of the American population.’
      • ‘Let's suppose, hypothetically, that spam is accepted, so everybody can do it.’
      • ‘Imagine tossing a coin until it lands heads-up, and suppose that the payoff grows exponentially according to the number of tosses you make.’
      • ‘Finally, suppose that we hypothesize that there are races, and that the correct racial classification has a certain form.’
      • ‘Suppose that adoption has never previously been practised in our society, and suppose that someone proposes introducing it.’
      • ‘And now suppose that, given the right introduction to jazz, you actually liked it.’
      • ‘For the sake of argument, let's suppose that we have a pile of cash that we can sacrifice for some noble cause.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
    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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He and others buy into what they call the belt-of-fat theory, which supposes that abdominal fat inhibits the stomach from ballooning.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The argument against objectivity supposes that contaminating bias will distort all one's work.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Rational-actor theory supposes that we make decisions by calm, essentially mathematical calculation of our own self-interest.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      require, presuppose, imply, assume
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  • 2be supposed to do somethingBe 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.’
    • ‘They were supposed to be a flexible product that would suit investors with different appetites for risk.’
    • ‘We had guns aimed at us by the police who were supposed to be there to protect and serve.’
    • ‘The consulting contract is supposed to reflect a meeting of the minds between the parties.’
    • ‘Men from the north in those days came from nomadic tribes and were supposed to be strong and brave.’
    • ‘You were supposed to take your shoes off at the front door, before you even got into the lobby!’
    • ‘We'd been up since 5am driving and were supposed to be meeting folks for a meal that night.’
    • ‘They were supposed to meet up with others and go to a party, but that didn't happen.’
    • ‘I can understand that the acting was supposed to be choppy, and the sets were supposed to look fake.’
    • ‘We were supposed to have our grandson this weekend so his mother can move house, but we have had to rearrange our plans.’
    • ‘Shawn pulled up to the abandoned building where the gang meeting was supposed to be.’
    • ‘Relations between fishermen and scientists were supposed to be getting better before last week.’
    • ‘They were being too radical and I think they were supposed to be meeting in other people's houses.’
    • ‘Those plants were supposed to give us decades of electricity that would be too cheap to meter.’
    • ‘Since I was a child, there have been many wars which were supposed to impact my life.’
    • ‘We were supposed to find out on Friday, but for various reasons they weren't able to get the information to us.’
    • ‘The contractors who were supposed to be here on Thursday have decided they'd come today instead.’
    • ‘We were supposed to go upstairs for a meal but just couldn't face anybody.’
    • ‘Reforms in 2000 were supposed to achieve this aim but have not done so with any great success.’
    • ‘My surprise meant it took a good few minutes before I realised what we were supposed to do with a live chicken.’
    meant, intended, expected
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1with negative Be forbidden to do something.
      ‘I shouldn't have been in the study—I'm not supposed to go in there’
      • ‘She was unaware at the time that the stairs were not supposed to be used.’
      • ‘In my mind, we were not supposed to be interested in dress, food and wine.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In theory, they were not supposed to engage with the enemy, except when unavoidable.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Women were not supposed to work outside the home.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The decision was made by an official and ministers were not supposed to interfere.’
      • ‘There was so much we were not supposed to be capable of doing.’
      • ‘Incidentally, Barbara was not supposed to be on that flight today.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘To excuse that use of his name by saying the spies were not supposed to use real names is begging the question.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I thought the attorneys for the various parties were not supposed to be discussing the case.’

Phrases

  • I suppose so

    • Used to express hesitant agreement.

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

Origin

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’.

Pronunciation

suppose

/səˈpəʊz/