verb (used without object), spec·u·lat·ed, spec·u·lat·ing.

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 formso·ver·spec·u·late, verb (used without object), o·ver·spec·u·lat·ed, o·ver·spec·u·lat·ing.pre·spec·u·late, verb (used without object), pre·spec·u·lat·ed, pre·spec·u·lat·ing.un·spec·u·lat·ing, adjective

Synonyms for speculate

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for speculate

Contemporary Examples of speculate

Historical Examples of speculate

  • "He had no right to speculate with my mother's money," said Robert, indignantly.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • She no longer feared the senator, but she refused to speculate upon what Chip might do.

  • He had no time to speculate further, for Dr. Hardman entered at that moment.

  • You will have to take lessons from me, and go on the market and speculate yourself.'

  • I want you to give me some money for myself—to speculate with.'

British Dictionary definitions for speculate



(when tr, takes a clause as object) to conjecture without knowing the complete facts
(intr) to buy or sell securities, property, etc, in the hope of deriving capital gains
(intr) to risk loss for the possibility of considerable gain
(intr) NZ rugby to make an emergency forward kick of the ball without taking any particular aim

Word Origin for speculate

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

Word Origin and History for speculate

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper