Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Inference or judgment based on inconclusive or incomplete evidence; guesswork.
  • n. A statement, opinion, or conclusion based on guesswork: The commentators made various conjectures about the outcome of the next election.
  • transitive v. To infer from inconclusive evidence; guess.
  • intransitive v. To make a conjecture.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A statement or an idea which is unproven, but is thought to be true; a guess.
  • n. A supposition based upon incomplete evidence; a hypothesis.
  • n. A statement likely to be true based on available evidence, but which has not been formally proven.
  • n. Interpretation of signs and omens.
  • v. To guess; to venture an unproven idea.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An opinion, or judgment, formed on defective or presumptive evidence; probable inference; surmise; guess; suspicion.
  • intransitive v. To make conjectures; to surmise; to guess; to infer; to form an opinion; to imagine.
  • transitive v. To arrive at by conjecture; to infer on slight evidence; to surmise; to guess; to form, at random, opinions concerning.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To form (an opinion or notion) upon probabilities or upon slight evidence; guess: generally governing a clause.
  • Synonyms Imagine, Conjecture, Surmise, Guess, Presume, fancy, divine. Imagine literally expresses pure speculation, and figuratively expresses an idea founded upon the slightest evidence: as, I imagine that you will find yourself mistaken. Conjecture is something like a random throw of the mind; it turns from one possibility to another, and perhaps selects one, almost arbitrarily. Surmise has often the same sense as conjecture; it sometimes implies a suspicion, favorable or otherwise: as, I surmise that his motives were not good. Guess suggests a riddle, the solution of which is felt after by the mind—a question, as to which we offer an opinion, but not with confidence, because the material for a judgment is confessedly insufficient. To presume is to base a tentative or provisional opinion on such knowledge as one has, to be held until it is modified or overthrown by further information.
  • To form conjectures; surmise; guess.
  • n. The act of forming an opinion without definite proof; a supposition made to account for an ascertained state of things, but as yet unverified; an opinion formed on insufficient presumptive evidence; a surmise; a guess.
  • n. Suspicious surmise; derogatory supposition or presumption.
  • n. Synonyms Supposition, hypothesis, theory.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. to believe especially on uncertain or tentative grounds
  • n. reasoning that involves the formation of conclusions from incomplete evidence
  • n. a hypothesis that has been formed by speculating or conjecturing (usually with little hard evidence)
  • n. a message expressing an opinion based on incomplete evidence

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French, from Latin coniectūra, from coniectus, past participle of conicere, to infer : com-, com- + iacere, to throw; see yē- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin coniectūra ("a guess"), from coniectus, perfect passive participle of cōniciō ("throw or cast together; guess"), from con- ("together") + iaciō ("throw, hurl"); see jet. Compare adjective, eject, inject, project, reject, subject, object, trajectory. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The word conjecture was all over it: it was full of disclaimers and hedgings, and it raised the hair on the back of his neck, regardless.

    INTELLIVORE

  • Such conjecture is not only legitimate; it's necessary and urgent.

    Dave Zirin: In the NFL, The Violence Comes to a Head

  • For some time I was lost in conjecture as to the cause of this; but yesterday an idea struck me, and if it is well founded, I conjure you to avow it.

    Chapter 18

  • The only effect I can conjecture is an increase in the woes of the unfortunates who must bow to this petty tyranny for'ard.

    CHAPTER XVII

  • Yet the whole itself must remain conjecture, as imponderable as accomplished facts or as forecasts of the future.

    Translated Texts

  • To those, yes, American democrats who quibble, cavil, and lose themselves in conjecture over the risks to which the judge who allows a criminal to live subjects honest people, we countered with Maïmonides's axiom: "It is more satisfying to acquit thousands of the guilty than to execute one sole innocent man."

    Bernard-Henri Lévy: And to Think That We Still Have to Argue Against the Death Penalty

  • More specifi… cally, its key conjecture is that the threat of being viewed through the lens of a negative stereotype can create an anxiety that disrupts cognitive performance and influences outcomes and behaviors

    Maybe "dumb jocks" aren't really dumb....

  • A common conjecture is that this is primarily a consequence of rising real per capita income, which more than doubled over the same period.

    To Our Health

  • Formulated in 1904 by the French mathematician Henri Poincaré, the conjecture is fundamental to achieving an understanding of three-dimensional shapes (compact manifolds).

    Poincaré Conjecture « Anglican Samizdat

  • The Poincaré conjecture is one of the seven Millennium Prize Problems established by CMI in 2000.

    Poincaré Conjecture « Anglican Samizdat

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