Dictionary.com

supposably

[ suh-pohz-uh-blee ]
/ səˈpoʊz ə bli /
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adverb
as may be assumed, imagined, or supposed:In our modern and supposably transparent era, the government’s motives for war have come into question.
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WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH supposably

supposably , supposedly
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

SUPPOSABLY VS. SUPPOSEDLY

What’s the difference between supposably and supposedly?

Supposably is an uncommonly used word that means about the same thing as presumably or conceivably—as may be assumed, imagined, or supposed to be correct, as in We could supposably make the trip in a single day, but that would be pushing it. Supposedly is much more commonly used and means according to what is believed or accepted, without actually knowing for sure, as in Supposedly, he’s bringing the cake. Sometimes, supposedly means according to what is falsely claimed, assumed, or imagined, as in The supposedly safe ride injured eight people. 

Yes, supposably is a “real word.” In a lot of cases, though, it’s mistakenly used in place of supposedly. Still, its meaning may sometimes actually fit the situation (even if the person who said it really meant supposedly).

Trying to remember the difference between the meaning of the two words can be tricky because both relate to what is believed or assumed and are adverbs (they’re used to modify or describe verbs or adjectives or even entire statements).

Here’s a great way to keep them straight: remember that supposably usually expresses the possibility that something might or could happen or be true, while supposedly often expresses doubt or uncertainty about something happening or being true.

Some people avoid using supposably altogether, instead opting for synonyms like presumably and conceivably, which are more common—and more likely to be clearly understood.

Here’s an example of supposably and supposedly used correctly in a sentence.

Example: With the number of new developers we’re supposedly hiring, we could supposably finish the project by the end of the summer. 

Want to learn more? Read the full breakdown of the difference between supposably and supposedly.

Quiz yourself on supposably vs. supposedly!

Should supposably or supposedly be used in the following sentence?

He _____ did the laundry, but the hamper is still full.

How to use supposably in a sentence

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