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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)
- (obsolete, intransitive) To think, meditate or reflect on a subject; to consider, to deliberate or cogitate.
- 1850, Nathaniel Hawthorne, chapter 13, in The Scarlet Letter, a Romance, Boston, Mass.: Ticknor, Reed, and Fields, →OCLC:
- It is remarkable that persons who speculate the most boldly often conform with the most perfect quietude to the external regulations of society.
- (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; […].
- (intransitive, business, finance) To make a risky trade in the hope of making a profit; to venture or gamble.
- (intransitive, programming) To anticipate which branch of code will be chosen and execute it in advance.
(obsolete in English) to meditate
to make an inference based on inconclusive evidence
to make a risky trade
- speculate in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913
- speculate in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911
- inflection of speculare:
speculate f pl
- (Classical) IPA(key): /spe.kuˈlaː.te/, [s̠pɛkʊˈɫ̪äːt̪ɛ]
- (Ecclesiastical) IPA(key): /spe.kuˈla.te/, [spekuˈläːt̪e]
- English terms derived from Proto-Indo-European
- English terms derived from the Proto-Indo-European root *speḱ-
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