When you speculate, you use what you know to make a prediction about an outcome, like when you speculate that the injury of two key players will prevent your favorite team from going far in the playoffs this year.

The verb speculate has a specialized meaning in the world of finance — it means to take a financial risk in the hopes of monetary gain. For example, a business owner may speculate that a brand-new kind of frozen yogurt will be really popular, so she buys a huge order of it for her ice cream store. Someone who speculates goes looking for the next big thing, as seen in the word's Latin origin, speculatus, meaning "to spy out, examine."

Definitions of speculate

v reflect deeply on a subject

“philosophers have speculated on the question of God for thousands of years”
chew over, contemplate, excogitate, meditate, mull, mull over, muse, ponder, reflect, ruminate, think over
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think or reflect beforehand or in advance
theologise, theologize
make theoretical speculations about theology or discuss theological subjects
reflect on one's own thoughts and feelings
consider or ponder something carefully
consider carefully and deeply; reflect upon; turn over in one's mind
question, wonder
place in doubt or express doubtful speculation
be uncertain about; think about without fully understanding or being able to decide
consider, study
give careful consideration to
factor, factor in, factor out
consider as relevant when making a decision
compare, equate, liken
consider or describe as similar, equal, or analogous
have doubts about
Type of:
cerebrate, cogitate, think
use or exercise the mind or one's power of reason in order to make inferences, decisions, or arrive at a solution or judgments

v talk over conjecturally, or review in an idle or casual way and with an element of doubt or without sufficient reason to reach a conclusion

“We were speculating whether the President had to resign after the scandal”
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guess, hazard, pretend, venture
put forward, of a guess, in spite of possible refutation
say, suppose
express a supposition
anticipate, call, forebode, foretell, predict, prognosticate, promise
make a prediction about; tell in advance
surmise, suspect
imagine to be the case or true or probable
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think logically

v believe especially on uncertain or tentative grounds

conjecture, hypothecate, hypothesise, hypothesize, suppose, theorise, theorize
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construct, reconstruct, retrace
reassemble mentally
develop, explicate, formulate
elaborate, as of theories and hypotheses
etymologise, etymologize
construct the history of words
develop and work out fully in one's mind
redevelop, reformulate
formulate or develop again, of an improved theory or hypothesis
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anticipate, expect
regard something as probable or likely

v invest at a risk

“I bought this house not because I want to live in it but to sell it later at a good price, so I am speculating
try to raise the price of stocks through speculative buying
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commit, invest, place, put
make an investment

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