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[spek-yuh-leyt] /ˈspɛk yəˌleɪt/
verb (used without object), speculated, speculating.
to engage in thought or reflection; meditate (often followed by on, upon, or a clause).
to indulge in conjectural thought.
to engage in any business transaction involving considerable risk or the chance of large gains, especially to buy and sell commodities, stocks, etc., in the expectation of a quick or very large profit.
Origin of speculate
1590-1600; < Latin speculātus, past participle of speculārī to watch over, explore, reconnoiter, derivative of specula watch tower, noun derivative of specere to look, regard; see -ate1
Related forms
overspeculate, verb (used without object), overspeculated, overspeculating.
prespeculate, verb (used without object), prespeculated, prespeculating.
unspeculating, adjective
1. think, reflect, cogitate. 2. conjecture, guess, surmise, suppose, theorize. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for speculate
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I do not like to speculate on the absence of this spirit in our later literature, which was written under other influences.

    Imaginations and Reveries (A.E.) George William Russell
  • She no longer feared the senator, but she refused to speculate upon what Chip might do.

    Chip, of the Flying U B. M. Bower
  • It diverted him to speculate as to how much weight each of the steers would probably put on by spring.

    O Pioneers! Willa Cather
  • He had no time to speculate further, for Dr. Hardman entered at that moment.

    Frank Roscoe's Secret Allen Chapman
  • He goes to the table and buys some checks, with which he begins to speculate.

    The Slave of the Mine Bracebridge Hemyng
British Dictionary definitions for speculate


(when transitive, takes a clause as object) to conjecture without knowing the complete facts
(intransitive) to buy or sell securities, property, etc, in the hope of deriving capital gains
(intransitive) to risk loss for the possibility of considerable gain
(intransitive) (NZ, rugby) to make an emergency forward kick of the ball without taking any particular aim
Word Origin
C16: from Latin speculārī to spy out, from specula a watchtower, from specere to look at
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for speculate

1590s, back-formation from speculation. Related: Speculated; speculating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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