Definition of second-guess in English:



  • 1Anticipate or predict (someone's actions or thoughts) by guesswork.

    ‘he had to second-guess what the environmental regulations would be in five years' time’
    • ‘We've been trying to second-guess Augusta all week but there's no sense in trying any longer.’
    • ‘Good art institutions should not be about second-guessing the public's taste.’
    • ‘But while clothes shoppers are revelling in the dozens of new alleys open to them, manufacturers are despairing as they try to second-guess the kaleidoscopic public mood.’
    • ‘It is not the government's job to second-guess the public's inclination to save or spend.’
    • ‘I think I've been guilty in the past of second-guessing myself a little bit and then not committing to a decision.’
    pre-empt, forestall, intercept
    View synonyms
  • 2North American Judge or criticize (someone) with hindsight.

    ‘the prime minister was willing to second-guess senior ministers in public’
    • ‘I've been treated in a most disgraceful manner, I've been second-guessed, my professional reputation has been slurred.’
    • ‘They spend considerable time second-guessing themselves.’
    • ‘Our only rule is not to second-guess ourselves.’
    • ‘Rather than second-guessing himself, though, Thompson is forging ahead.’
    • ‘Now it hurts them that they find themselves second-guessing their decision to stay.’
    • ‘He didn't second-guess himself; why should they?’
    • ‘I suppose what I'm saying is don't second-guess yourself.’
    • ‘The only thing that has really changed is my confidence in asserting those opinions and not second-guessing myself.’
    • ‘Well, Larry, I hate to be in a position where I'm second-guessing anything, but I've said all along this media strategy is atrocious.’
    • ‘We are not prone to second-guess police work, but the sniper investigation seems to have been marked by confusion and worse.’
    • ‘This is a climate in which we cannot afford to allow science to be second-guessed by politics or prejudice.’
    • ‘You can always second-guess yourself, and wonder if you made the right choices.’
    • ‘I mean, maybe there are times I do, but I second-guess myself a lot and I worry about things a lot.’
    • ‘Once again, Dyllis wished people would stop second-guessing her all the time.’
    • ‘It is hard to see what purpose would be served by second-guessing the administration over every setback, or wringing our hands over every difficulty.’
    • ‘The tone of voice Michael made that careless statement in, however, had him second-guessing his initial thoughts.’
    • ‘Sir Humphrey does not like being second-guessed.’
    • ‘As a matter of fact, too often presidents have been criticized for second-guessing those commanders.’
    • ‘It even implies that it's impossible to second-guess myself, yet I do it anyway!’
    • ‘As usual, too, the world's best golfer has been second-guessed at every turn.’