If you see empty ice cream containers on the table, sprinkles littering the ground, and a can of whipped cream in the trash, you can surmise what happened: someone made sundaes. To surmise is to form an opinion or make a guess about something.

If you surmise that something is true, you don't have much evidence or knowledge about it. Near synonyms are guess, conjecture, and suppose. You might say, "I can't even surmise what he would do in such a situation." Surmise came to English from the French surmettre, "to accuse," which is formed from the prefix sur-, "on, upon," plus mettre, "to put" (from Latin mittere, "to send").

Definitions of surmise

v infer from incomplete evidence

Type of:
deduce, deduct, derive, infer
reason by deduction; establish by deduction

v imagine to be the case or true or probable

“I surmised that the butler did it”
Type of:
guess, hazard, pretend, venture
put forward, of a guess, in spite of possible refutation

n a message expressing an opinion based on incomplete evidence

conjecture, guess, hypothesis, speculation, supposition, surmisal
successful conjecture by unusual insight or good luck
Type of:
opinion, view
a message expressing a belief about something; the expression of a belief that is held with confidence but not substantiated by positive knowledge or proof

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