Definition of suppose in US English:

suppose

verb

  • 1with clause Assume that something is the case on the basis of evidence or probability but without proof or certain knowledge.

    ‘I suppose I got there about half past eleven’
    • ‘You could make arguments on this basis, I suppose, on either side.’
    • ‘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 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.’
    • ‘I suppose the boy had assumed that I would be frightened off by now, but I didn't want to give him that satisfaction.’
    • ‘When we didn't laugh, I suppose he assumed that Jess hadn't been lying.’
    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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Suppose you never need this type of care.’
      • ‘I suppose, given the evidence, I should have realised earlier that he had gone to Germany voluntarily.’
      • ‘I suppose to some extent that's true.’
      • ‘On that basis, I suppose I should have ended up a cookery writer, but no matter.’
      • ‘That is the basis, I suppose, upon which this court must approach it.’
      • ‘I suppose in a way it's easier for women than for men.’
      • ‘I suppose I better leave it here tonight and let sleep work on it.’
      • ‘I suppose I live my life as a hermit.’
      • ‘I suppose at some point we need to start thinking about decorating the nursery.’
      • ‘Suppose we have an auction and no one shows up?’
      • ‘Suppose we landed on Mars and we saw a skyscraper.’
      hypothesize, postulate, theorize, posit, speculate, say, let's say, assume, imagine
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    2. 1.2 Used to introduce a hypothesis and trace or ask about what follows from it.
      ‘suppose he had been murdered—what then?’
      • ‘Finally, suppose that we hypothesize that there are races, and that the correct racial classification has a certain form.’
      • ‘Imagine tossing a coin until it lands heads-up, and suppose that the payoff grows exponentially according to the number of tosses you make.’
      • ‘Suppose that adoption has never previously been practised in our society, and suppose that someone proposes introducing it.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘For the sake of argument, let's suppose that we have a pile of cash that we can sacrifice for some noble cause.’
      • ‘And now suppose that, given the right introduction to jazz, you actually liked 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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The argument against objectivity supposes that contaminating bias will distort all one's work.’
      • ‘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
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4with object Believe to exist or to possess a specified characteristic.
      ‘he supposed the girl to be about twelve’
      • ‘This novel is far from a crude anti-Islamic polemic, however, as many might have supposed it to be.’
      • ‘She supposed them to be supporters of the interim government.’
      • ‘She had not supposed him to be a deeply religious man.’
      • ‘I have always supposed it to be my own fault.’
      • ‘The ideas which we have supposed him to possess would mediate in his mind between the phenomena he starts with and the conclusions he draws.’
      • ‘If we suppose him to also be devoid of the sense of smell, we shall see what a very small part of the glory of the garden exists for him.’
      • ‘She is not a has-been like many suppose her to be.’
      • ‘Brown has actually turned out worse than many of us supposed him to be as well.’
  • 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’
    • ‘We were supposed to have our grandson this weekend so his mother can move house, but we have had to rearrange our plans.’
    • ‘I thought these sessions were supposed to have a positive effect, if anything.’
    • ‘Those plants were supposed to give us decades of electricity that would be too cheap to meter.’
    • ‘We had guns aimed at us by the police who were supposed to be there to protect and serve.’
    • ‘We were supposed to find out on Friday, but for various reasons they weren't able to get the information to us.’
    • ‘We were supposed to go upstairs for a meal but just couldn't face anybody.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Since I was a child, there have been many wars which were supposed to impact my life.’
    • ‘Men from the north in those days came from nomadic tribes and were supposed to be strong and brave.’
    • ‘They were supposed to be a flexible product that would suit investors with different appetites for risk.’
    • ‘The consulting contract is supposed to reflect a meeting of the minds between the parties.’
    • ‘I can understand that the acting was supposed to be choppy, and the sets were supposed to look fake.’
    • ‘My surprise meant it took a good few minutes before I realised what we were supposed to do with a live chicken.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘We'd been up since 5am driving and were supposed to be meeting folks for a meal that night.’
    • ‘The contractors who were supposed to be here on Thursday have decided they'd come today instead.’
    • ‘They were being too radical and I think they were supposed to be meeting in other people's houses.’
    • ‘They were supposed to meet up with others and go to a party, but that didn't happen.’
    meant, intended, expected
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1with negative Be forbidden to do something.
      ‘I shouldn't have been in the kitchen—I'm not supposed to go in there’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The decision was made by an official and ministers were not supposed to interfere.’
      • ‘She also pointed out that businesses were not supposed to put out directional signs unless they had applied for permission.’
      • ‘Women were not supposed to work outside the home.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I thought the attorneys for the various parties were not supposed to be discussing the case.’
      • ‘At about 4pm they went along the corridor to a music practice room - where they were not supposed to be - to use the piano.’
      • ‘There was so much we were not supposed to be capable of doing.’
      • ‘Chinese women in ancient China were not supposed to go out and be seen in public.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She was unaware at the time that the stairs were not supposed to be used.’
      • ‘I realize that this is exactly what I was not supposed to see.’
      • ‘In theory, they were not supposed to engage with the enemy, except when unavoidable.’
      • ‘To excuse that use of his name by saying the spies were not supposed to use real names is begging the question.’
      • ‘Gordon did not specify exactly what it was the staff members were not supposed to talk about.’
      • ‘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 my mind, we were not supposed to be interested in dress, food and wine.’

Phrases

  • I suppose so

    • Used to express hesitant or reluctant agreement.

      • ‘Well, I suppose so, but sometimes it's okay to let the veneer crack.’
      • ‘Jon did not see any suspicion in this question, so he replied calmly, ‘Yes, I suppose so.’’
      • ‘‘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.’
      • ‘Yes, yes, I suppose so and people could have asked that.’
      • ‘‘Well, I suppose so,’ she affirmed uncertainly.’
      • ‘‘Um, I suppose so,’ he answers, a bit uncertain.’
      • ‘Well, if you want to think of it that way, I suppose so, but never entirely.’
      • ‘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

/səˈpoʊz//səˈpōz/