• synonyms


[verb ser-mahyz; noun ser-mahyz, sur-mahyz]
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


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

Related Words


Examples from the Web for surmises

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • To this day he can not put a name to it; he surmises that it was Wapping.

    The Black Bag

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • And she promptly reassured Madame Desagneaux with regard to her surmises.

  • She was mistaken in her surmises, however, for Lisa was not a devotee.

  • Brown thought and guessed and surmised, but guesses and surmises were fruitless.

    The Woman-Haters

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • What am I to say—what am I to do, mother, if—if—your surmises be actually true?

    Pretty Madcap Dorothy

    Laura Jean Libbey

British Dictionary definitions for surmises


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

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 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.

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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