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From Middle English gessen (verb) and Middle English gesse (noun), probably of North Germanic origin, from Old Danish getse, gitse, getsa (to guess), from Old Norse *getsa, *gitsa, from Proto-Germanic *gitisōną (to guess), from Proto-Germanic *getaną (to get), from Proto-Indo-European *gʰed- (to take, seize). Cognate with Danish gisse (to guess), Norwegian gissa, gjette (to guess), Swedish gissa (to guess), Saterland Frisian gisje (to guess), Dutch gissen (to guess), Low German gissen (to guess), Dutch gis (a guess). Related also to Icelandic giska ("to guess"; from Proto-Germanic *gitiskōną). Compare also Russian гада́ть (gadátʹ, to conjecture, guess, divine), Albanian gjëzë (riddle) from gjej (find, recover, obtain). More at get.


  • enPR: gĕs, IPA(key): /ɡɛs/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛs


guess (third-person singular simple present guesses, present participle guessing, simple past and past participle guessed)

  1. To reach a partly (or totally) unconfirmed conclusion; to engage in conjecture; to speculate.
    We can only guess at what was going through her mind.
    She guessed that the delivery driver must have got stuck in traffic.
  2. To solve by a correct conjecture; to conjecture rightly.
    He who guesses the riddle shall have the ring.
    You guessed the right answer!
    You will never guess what happened next.
  3. (chiefly US) to suppose, to imagine (introducing a proposition of uncertain plausibility).
    That album is quite hard to find, but I guess you could try ordering it online.
  4. (colloquial) To think, conclude, or decide (without a connotation of uncertainty). Usually in first person: "I guess".
    "I guess you were right." "What did he say?" "He guesses you were right."
    "I guess I'll go to bed."
  5. (obsolete) To hit upon or reproduce by memory.



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guess (plural guesses)

  1. A prediction about the outcome of something, typically made without factual evidence or support.
    Synonyms: estimate, hypothesis, prediction
    If you don't know the answer, take a guess.
    • 1907, L. Frank Baum, Ozma of Oz:
      "But I shall have eleven guesses," answered Ozma. "Surely I ought to guess one object in eleven correctly; and, if I do, I shall rescue one of the royal family and be safe myself. Then the rest of you may attempt it, and soon we shall free all those who are enslaved."
    • 2005, Mike Batt (lyrics and music), “Nine Million Bicycles”, performed by Katie Melua:
      We are twelve billion light years from the edge / That's a guess

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