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Borrowed from Latin speculātus, past participle of speculor (look out), from specula (watchtower), from speciō (look at)


speculate (third-person singular simple present speculates, present participle speculating, simple past and past participle speculated)

  1. (obsolete, intransitive) To think, meditate or reflect on a subject; to consider, to deliberate or cogitate.
    • Hawthorne
      It is remarkable that persons who speculate the most boldly often conform with the most perfect quietude to the external regulations of society.
  2. (intransitive) To make an inference based on inconclusive evidence; to surmise or conjecture.
    • 1983, Richard Ellis, The Book of Sharks, Knopf, →ISBN, page 171:
      We can speculate that in many instances the sharks are not feeding on their victims, but only in a few cases can we guess what they are doing.
    • 2013 June 7, David Simpson, “Fantasy of navigation”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 188, number 26, page 36:
      It is tempting to speculate about the incentives or compulsions that might explain why anyone would take to the skies in [the] basket [of a balloon]: perhaps out of a desire to escape the gravity of this world or to get a preview of the next; […].
  3. (intransitive, business, finance) To make a risky trade in the hope of making a profit; to venture or gamble.
  4. (intransitive, programming) To anticipate which branch of code will be chosen and execute it in advance.

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  1. second-person plural present indicative of speculare
  2. second-person plural imperative of speculare
  3. feminine plural of speculato





  1. vocative masculine singular of speculātus