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[verb ser-mahyz; noun ser-mahyz, sur-mahyz]
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verb (used with object), sur·mised, sur·mis·ing.
  1. to think or infer without certain or strong evidence; conjecture; guess.
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verb (used without object), sur·mised, sur·mis·ing.
  1. to conjecture or guess.
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  1. a matter of conjecture.
  2. an idea or thought of something as being possible or likely.
  3. a conjecture or opinion.
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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 formssur·mis·a·ble, adjectivesur·mised·ly [ser-mahyzd-lee, -mahy-zid-] /sərˈmaɪzd li, -ˈmaɪ zɪd-/, adverbsur·mis·er, nounun·sur·mised, adjectiveun·sur·mis·ing, adjective

Synonyms for surmise

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for surmise


verb (sɜːˈmaɪz)
  1. (when tr, may take a clause as object) to infer (something) from incomplete or uncertain evidence
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noun (sɜːˈmaɪz, ˈsɜːmaɪz)
  1. an idea inferred from inconclusive evidence
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Derived Formssurmisable, adjectivesurmiser, noun

Word Origin for surmise

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

Word Origin and History for surmise


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.

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early 15c., legal, "a charge, a formal accusation;" see surmise (v.). Meaning "inference, guess" is first found in English 1580s.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper