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[verb ser-mahyz; noun ser-mahyz, sur-mahyz] /verb sərˈmaɪz; noun 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. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for surmises
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It occupied their attention and kept their thoughts free from surmises as to Indian Jake.

    Grit A-Plenty Dillon Wallace
  • surmises of all sorts were made as to what was going forward.

    The Three Commanders W.H.G. Kingston
  • Wood surmises, that Hunt had some share in composing Julian.

  • But reason soon showed him the little probability of either of these surmises.

    Wood Rangers Mayne Reid
  • What Thanet thought of it all, the little island kept secret, hiding its surmises in the thicket of her own archaic forests.

  • But you cannot prove either of these surmises to be correct.

    Moby Dick; or The Whale Herman Melville
  • To this day he can not put a name to it; he surmises that it was Wapping.

    The Black Bag Louis Joseph Vance
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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