Why was clemency trending last week?


[v. ser-mahyz; n. ser-mahyz, sur-mahyz] /v. sərˈmaɪz; n. sərˈmaɪz, ˈsɜr maɪz/
verb (used with object), surmised, surmising.
to think or infer without certain or strong evidence; conjecture; guess.
verb (used without object), surmised, surmising.
to conjecture or guess.
a matter of conjecture.
an idea or thought of something as being possible or likely.
a conjecture or opinion.
Origin of surmise
1350-1400; Middle English surmisen < Anglo-French surmis(e), Middle French (past participle of surmettre to accuse < Latin supermittere to throw upon), equivalent to sur- sur-1 + mis (masculine), mise (feminine) < Latin missus, missa, equivalent to mit(tere) to send + -tus, -ta past participle suffix
Related forms
surmisable, adjective
[ser-mahyzd-lee, -mahy-zid-] /sərˈmaɪzd li, -ˈmaɪ zɪd-/ (Show IPA),
surmiser, noun
unsurmised, adjective
unsurmising, adjective
1. imagine, suppose, suspect. See guess. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for surmises
  • Hardy surmises that the lab-reared wasps were agitated during the bumpy ride from the lab to the field and were releasing skatole.
  • This, he surmises, probably requires specialized neuromuscular control.
  • The writer who records this custom surmises that it may explain the presence of a number of synonyms in the language of the tribe.
  • Perhaps, he surmises, people were not anxious to put their thoughts in traceable writing.
  • Initial surmises about plane crashes are often misleading.
  • For sometimes the culture surmises an individual personality, collectively.
  • There remain secrets and surmises, important ones, that actually add depth and vitality to the story.
  • He surmises that the lariat structure had escaped detection for so long because of its transient nature.
  • Tiffany surmises that there should be a general update concerning the bike path in the form of a letter.
  • One surmises that the sermon portion of the text was improvised.
British Dictionary definitions for surmises


verb (sɜːˈmaɪz)
(when transitive, may take a clause as object) to infer (something) from incomplete or uncertain evidence
noun (sɜːˈmaɪz; ˈsɜːmaɪz)
an idea inferred from inconclusive evidence
Derived Forms
surmisable, adjective
surmiser, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Old French, from surmettre to accuse, from Latin supermittere to throw over, from super- + mittere to send
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 surmises



c.1400, "to charge, allege," from Old French surmis, past participle of surmettre "to accuse," from sur- "upon" (see sur-) + mettre "put," from Latin mittere "to send" (see mission). Meaning "to infer conjecturally" is recorded from 1700. Related: Surmised; surmising.


early 15c., legal, "a charge, a formal accusation;" see surmise (v.). Meaning "inference, guess" is first found in English 1580s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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