9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[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 speculating
  • Capote reported the story truthfully, but also embellished it by creating atmosphere and speculating on characters' emotions.
  • Behind the bar, a pair of locksmiths are speculating about which of the newbies is really an undercover cop.
  • So it's time to stop speculating about when the new economy of ideas will arrive.
  • speculating on the colors of alien plants and how the plants might behave isn't simply about satisfying curiosity.
  • All day, villagers had been speculating about those distant clouds.
  • Later, others would only shrug when speculating as to why he had chosen this ill-advised tactic.
  • They are also speculating that humans evolved from apes.
  • However, speculating on the author's unstated intentions is not informed skepticism.
  • It's a long leap from counting neurons firing, to speculating on intellectual capability or efficacy of brain use.
  • Finally, as with all scientific papers, the author closed by speculating on practical applications.
British Dictionary definitions for speculating


(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 speculating



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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