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  1. work or procedure based on or consisting of the making of guesses or conjectures.
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Origin of guesswork

First recorded in 1715–25; guess + work
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for guesswork

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • It had only been selected by guesswork among a number on Roden's bunch.

    Roden's Corner

    Henry Seton Merriman

  • In nearly all of America's accidents, guesswork is the real cause.

    Sure Pop and the Safety Scouts

    Roy Rutherford Bailey

  • The further in they went the greater the guesswork of the going.

    Love and Lucy

    Maurice Henry Hewlett

  • Perhaps I might hazard a guess, but it's no use talking of guesswork.

    The Long Roll

    Mary Johnston

  • It was guesswork to trace his footsteps, but the elder youth made the effort.

    Two Boys in Wyoming

    Edward S. Ellis

British Dictionary definitions for guesswork


  1. a set of conclusions, estimates, etc, arrived at by guessing
  2. the process of making guesses
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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

Word Origin and History for guesswork


also guess-work, 1725, from guess + work (n.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper