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[suh-pohzd, -poh-zid] /səˈpoʊzd, -ˈpoʊ zɪd/
assumed as true, regardless of fact; hypothetical:
a supposed case.
accepted or believed as true, without positive knowledge:
the supposed site of an ancient temple.
merely thought to be such; imagined:
supposed gains.
Origin of supposed
First recorded in 1560-70; suppose + -ed2
Related forms
[suh-poh-zid-lee] /səˈpoʊ zɪd li/ (Show IPA),
nonsupposed, adjective
unsupposed, adjective


[suh-pohz] /səˈpoʊz/
verb (used with object), supposed, supposing.
to assume (something), as for the sake of argument or as part of a proposition or theory:
Suppose the distance to be one mile.
to consider (something) as a possibility suggested or an idea or plan proposed:
Suppose we wait until tomorrow.
to believe or assume as true; take for granted:
It is supposed that his death was an accident.
to think or hold as an opinion:
What do you suppose he will do?
to require logically; imply; presuppose:
The evidence supposes his presence near the scene.
(used in the passive) to expect or design; require or permit (followed by an infinitive verb):
The machine is supposed to make noise. I'm not supposed to run fast.
verb (used without object), supposed, supposing.
to assume something; presume; think.
1275-1325; Middle English supposen < Old French supposer, equivalent to sup- sup- + poser to pose1; compare Medieval Latin suppōnere to suppose, Latin: to substitute, place below
Related forms
supposable, adjective
supposably, adverb
supposer, noun
missuppose, verb, missupposed, missupposing.
unsupposable, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for supposed
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Those who were initiated were supposed to be peculiarly under the protection of the gods.

    Philothea Lydia Maria Child
  • The boat he supposed to belong to Robert, and he was determined to spoil it.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • He knew the circumstances of the Rushtons, and he had not supposed they had any money on hand.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • It must not be supposed that this spring day in the spring places had reformed his manner of delivery.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • Of this breed there are supposed to be about three millions in our Southern provinces.

British Dictionary definitions for supposed


/səˈpəʊzd; -ˈpəʊzɪd/
(prenominal) presumed to be true without certain knowledge: his supposed date of birth
(prenominal) believed to be true on slight grounds; highly doubtful: the supposed existence of ghosts
(səˈpəʊzd), (postpositive) foll by to. expected or obliged (to): I'm supposed to be there at nine
(səˈpəʊzd), (postpositive; used in negative) foll by to. expected or obliged not (to): you're not supposed to walk on the grass
Derived Forms
supposedly (səˈpəʊzɪdlɪ) adverb


verb (transitive; may take a clause as object)
to presume (something) to be true without certain knowledge: I suppose he meant to kill her
to consider as a possible suggestion for the sake of discussion, elucidation, etc; postulate: suppose that he wins the election
(of theories, propositions, etc) to imply the inference or assumption (of): your policy supposes full employment
Derived Forms
supposable, adjective
supposer, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French supposer, from Medieval Latin suppōnere, from Latin: to substitute, from sub- + pōnere to put
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 supposed

"believed or thought to exist," 1580s, past participle adjective from suppose (q.v.); often with the -e- pronounced, to distinguish it from the passive past tense supposed, now common in the sense of "to have a duty or obligation" (1859).



early 14c., "to assume as the basis of argument," from Old French supposer "to assume," probably a replacement of *suppondre (influenced by Old French poser "put, place"), from Latin supponere "put or place under," from sub "under" + ponere "put, place" (see position). Meaning "to admit as possible, to believe to be true" is from 1520s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with supposed


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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