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Borrowed from Latin suppositīcius.



supposititious (comparative more supposititious, superlative most supposititious)

  1. (obsolete) Spurious; substituted for the genuine, counterfeit; fake.
    • 1600, John Colville, The Palinod of Iohn Coluill[1], Edinburgh:
      [...] the said pretended Testament was supposititious, & contriued by such as meant to defraud both the heires female of the said king Henrie the 8. as well as these of his eldest sister [...]
    • 1628, William Prynne, The Unlovelinesse of Love-Lockes[2], London, page 16:
      But it may bee some will here obiect and say; that the Haire, and Loue-lockes which they weare, are supposititious, false, and counterfeit, and not their owne: therefore they violate no Law of God, nor Nature, since the long Haire they vse, is but borrowed, and aduenticious, their owne being short enough: perchance, but little or none at all.
    • 1771, [Oliver] Goldsmith, “James II”, in The History of England, from the Earliest Times to the Death of George II. [], volume IV, London: [] T[homas] Davies, []; [T.] Becket and [P. A.] De Hondt; and T[homas] Cadell, [], →OCLC, page 28:
      [T]he queen [Mary of Modena] was brought to bed of a ſon, who was baptiſed by the name of James. This would, if any thing could at that time, have ſerved to eſtabliſh him on the throne; but so great was the animoſity againſt him, that a ſtory was propagated that the child was ſuppoſititious, and brought to the queen's apartment in a warming-pan.
  2. (obsolete) Imaginary; fictitious, pretended to exist.
    • 1796, Matthew Lewis, The Monk, Folio Society, published 1985, page 244:
      His good sense had pointed out to him the artifices of the monks, and the gross absurdity of their miracles, wonders, and supposititious reliques.
    • 1836, Edgar Allan Poe, Review of Joseph Rodman Drake, The Culprit Fay, and other Poems and Fitz-Greene Halleck, Alnwick Castle, with other Poems in Southern Literary Messenger, Volume 2, No. 5, April 1836, pp. 327-328,[3]
      [...] we discover in all men a disposition to look with reverence upon superiority, whether real or supposititious.
    • 1890, William Dean Howells, “Bibliographical”, in A Hazard of New Fortunes[4]:
      The following story was the first fruit of my New York life when I began to live it after my quarter of a century in Cambridge and Boston, ending in 1889; and I used my own transition to the commercial metropolis in framing the experience which was wholly that of my supposititious literary adventurer.
  3. Supposed or hypothetical.
    • 1854, Charles Dickens, “Chapter 2”, in Hard Times. For These Times, London: Bradbury & Evans, [], →OCLC:
      You might hope to get some other nonsensical belief into the head of George Gradgrind, or Augustus Gradgrind, or John Gradgrind, or Joseph Gradgrind (all supposititious, non-existent persons), but into the head of Thomas Gradgrind—no, sir!
    • 1893, William Gilbert, “Of the Daily Magnetic Revolution of the Globes, as against the Time-honored Opinion of a Primum Mobile: A Probable Hypothesis”, in P[aul] Fleury Mottelay, transl., William Gilbert of Colchester, Physician of London, on the Lodestone and Magnetic Bodies, and on the Great Magnet the Earth: A New Physiology, Demonstrated with Many Arguments and Experiments. [...] A Translation, New York, N.Y.: John Wiley & Sons, [], →OCLC, pages 320–321:
      Far more extravagant (insanior) yet is the idea of the whirling of the supposititious primum mobile, which is still higher, deeper, more immeasurable; and yet this incomprehensible primum mobile would have to be of matter, of enormous altitude, and far surpassing all the creation below in mass, for else it could not make the whole universe down to the earth revolve from east to west, and we should have to accept a universal force, an unending despotism, in the governance of the stars, and a hateful tyranny.
    • 1921, Arthur Ransome, “The Shortage of Things”, in The Crisis in Russia[5], New York: Huebsch, page 18:
      England produces practically no food, but great quantities of coal, steel and manufactured goods. Isolate her absolutely, and she will not only starve, but will stop producing manufactured goods, steel and coal, because those who usually produce these things will be getting nothing for their labor except money which they will be unable to use to buy dinners, because there will be no dinners to buy. That supposititious case is a precise parallel to what has happened in Russia. [Note: The UK edition reads “that suppositious case.”]
    • 1953, Isaac Asimov, Second Foundation (1971 Panther Books Ltd publication), part II: “Search by the Foundation”, chapter 8: ‘Seldon’s Plan’, page 90, ¶¶ 7–8
      “Why this particular problem, Speaker? It obviously has significance other than purely academic.”
      “Thank you, my boy. You are as quick as I had expected. The problem is not supposititious.”

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