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guess Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. noun a message expressing an opinion based on incomplete evidence
    conjecture; supposition; surmisal; hypothesis; speculation; surmise.
  2. noun an estimate based on little or no information
    guesswork; dead reckoning; shot; guessing.
  3. verb expect, believe, or suppose
    reckon; suppose; imagine; opine; think.
    • I imagine she earned a lot of money with her new novel
    • I thought to find her in a bad state
    • he didn't think to find her in the kitchen
    • I guess she is angry at me for standing her up
  4. verb put forward, of a guess, in spite of possible refutation
    pretend; hazard; venture.
    • I am guessing that the price of real estate will rise again
    • I cannot pretend to say that you are wrong
  5. verb judge tentatively or form an estimate of (quantities or time)
    judge; estimate; gauge; approximate.
    • I estimate this chicken to weigh three pounds
  6. verb guess correctly; solve by guessing
    • He guessed the right number of beans in the jar and won the prize

Guess transitive verb
OE. gessen; akin to Dan. gisse, Sw. gissa, Icel. gizha, D. gissen: cf. Dan. giette to guess, Icel. geta to get, to guess. Probably originally, to try to get, and akin to E. get. See Get.
imperfect & past participle Guessed ; present participle & verbal noun Guessing
  1. To form an opinion concerning, without knowledge or means of knowledge; to judge of at random; to conjecture.
    First, if thou canst, the harder reason guess. Pope.
  2. To judge or form an opinion of, from reasons that seem preponderating, but are not decisive.
    We may then guess how far it was from his design. Milton.
    Of ambushed men, whom, by their arms and dress, To be Taxallan enemies I guess. Dryden.
  3. To solve by a correct conjecture; to conjecture rightly; as, he who guesses the riddle shall have the ring; he has guessed my designs.
  4. To hit upon or reproduce by memory. Obs.
    Tell me their words, as near as thou canst guess them. Shak.
  5. To think; to suppose; to believe; to imagine; -- followed by an objective clause.
    Not all together; better far, I guess, That we do make our entrance several ways. Shak.
    But in known images of life I guess The labor greater. Pope.
    Syn. -- To conjecture; suppose; surmise; suspect; divine; think; imagine; fancy. -- To Guess, Think, Reckon. Guess denotes, to attempt to hit upon at random; as, to guess at a thing when blindfolded; to conjecture or form an opinion on hidden or very slight grounds: as, to guess a riddle; to guess out the meaning of an obscure passage. The use of the word guess for think or believe, although abundantly sanctioned by good English authors, is now regarded as antiquated and objectionable by discriminating writers. It may properly be branded as a colloguialism and vulgarism when used respecting a purpose or a thing about which there is no uncertainty; as, I guess I 'll go to bed.
Guess intransitive verb
  1. To make a guess or random judgment; to conjecture; -- with at, about, etc
    This is the place, as well as I may guess. Milton.
Guess noun
  1. An opinion as to anything, formed without sufficient or decisive evidence or grounds; an attempt to hit upon the truth by a random judgment; a conjecture; a surmise.
    A poet must confess His art 's like physic -- but a happy guess. Dryden.

Webster 1913