Word of the Day: CONJECTURE


noun \kən-ˈjek-chər\

: an opinion or idea formed without proof or sufficient evidence

Full Definition of CONJECTURE


 a :  interpretation of omens
 b :  supposition

2a :  inference from defective or presumptive evidence

 b :  a conclusion deduced by surmise or guesswork
 c :  a proposition (as in mathematics) before it has been proved or disproved

Examples of CONJECTURE

  1. The biography includes conjectures about the writer’s earliest ambitions.
  2. a conjecture about the extent of the injury
  3. Most of the book is conjecture, not fact.
  4. Whether Columbus brought syphilis to the New World—or to the Old World—has been the subject of conjecture for at least 500 years. —Carl Zimmer, Science, 11 May 2001
  5. The reason why the French with superior man-power and American resources were doing so poorly was not beyond all conjecture. —Barbara W. Tuchman, The March of Folly, 1984
  6. Peculiar features of early maps, which may have been nothing but a draftsman’s whimsy, have inspired pages of vain conjecture. —Samuel Eliot Morison, The European Discovery of America, 1971


Middle English, from Middle French or Latin; Middle French, from Latin conjectura, from conjectus, past participle of conicere, literally, to throw together, from com- + jacere to throw — more at jet

First Known Use: 14th century


verb \kən-ˈjek-chər\

: to form an opinion or idea without proof or sufficient evidence

con·jec·tured  con·jec·tur·ing

Full Definition of CONJECTURE

transitive verb
1:  to arrive at or deduce by surmise or guesswork :  guess <scientists conjecturing that a disease is caused by a defective gene>
2:  to make conjectures (see 1conjecture)as to <conjecture the meaning of a statement>
intransitive verb
:  to form conjectures(see 1conjecture)
con·jec·tur·er noun

Examples of CONJECTURE

  1. Some have conjectured that the distant planet could sustain life.
  2. We only conjecture about his motives.
  3. It is fashionable now to conjecture that the Big Bang was caused by a random quantum fluctuation in a vacuum devoid of space and time. —Martin Gardner, Skeptical Inquirer, November/December 1998
  4. … their traces left for future archaeologists to rediscover and perhaps to wonder or conjecture over. —Jane Jacobs, Cities and the Wealth of Nations, 1984
  5. I am anxious to conjecture beforehand what may be expected from the sowing turneps [sic] in jaded ground, how much from the acre, & how large they will be? —Thomas Jefferson, letter, 29 Dec. 1794
  6. Despairing of assistance and protection from below (as they foolishly conjecture) they talk of capitulating and coming upon terms with the French and Indians … —George Washington, 24 Apr. 1776, in The Papers of George Washington, 1984


(see 1conjecture)

First Known Use: 15th century



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