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 speculating

Contemporary Examples of speculating

Historical Examples of speculating

  • She felt that she had somehow blundered, and her busy mind was speculating as to how.

    The Law-Breakers

    Ridgwell Cullum

  • She was speculating as to what might happen with Fyles stationed here in Rocky Springs.

    The Law-Breakers

    Ridgwell Cullum

  • His mother simply accused him of not speculating on the political situation.

  • He was speculating in his mind as to the risk he was running.

    The Night Riders

    Ridgwell Cullum

  • Needless to say Jed Winslow did no speculating concerning his tenant's "past."


    Joseph C. Lincoln

British Dictionary definitions for speculating



(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 speculating



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper