verb (used with object)

  1. to arrive at or commit oneself to an opinion about (something) without having sufficient evidence to support the opinion fully: to guess a person’s weight.
  2. to estimate or conjecture about correctly: to guess what a word means.
  3. to think, believe, or suppose: I guess I can get there in time.

verb (used without object)

  1. to form an estimate or conjecture (often followed by at or about): We guessed at the weight of the package.
  2. to estimate or conjecture correctly.


  1. an opinion that one reaches or to which one commits oneself on the basis of probability alone or in the absence of any evidence whatever.
  2. the act of forming such an opinion: to take a guess at someone’s weight.


  1. by guess and by gosh, Northern U.S. using a combination of guesswork and reliance on luck; hit or miss.Also by guess and by golly.

verb (when tr, may take a clause as object)

  1. (when intr, often foll by at or about) to form or express an uncertain estimate or conclusion (about something), based on insufficient informationguess what we’re having for dinner
  2. to arrive at a correct estimate of (something) by guessinghe guessed my age
  3. informal, mainly US and Canadian to believe, think, or suppose (something)I guess I’ll go now
  4. keep a person guessing to let a person remain in a state of uncertainty


  1. an estimate or conclusion arrived at by guessinga bad guess
  2. the act of guessing
  3. anyone’s guess something difficult to predict

v.c.1300, gessen “to estimate, appraise,” originally “take aim,” probably from Scandinavian (cf. Middle Danish gitse, getze “to guess,” Old Norse geta “guess, get”), possibly influenced by Middle Dutch gessen, Middle Low German gissen “to guess,” all from Proto-Germanic *getiskanan “to get” (see get). Sense evolution is from “to get,” to “to take aim at,” to “to estimate.” Meaning “to hit upon the right answer” is from 1540s. U.S. sense of “calculate, recon” is true to the oldest English meaning. Spelling with gu- is late 16c., sometimes attributed to Caxton and his early experience as a printer in Bruges. Related: Guessed; guessing. Guessing game attested from 1650s. n.c.1300, from guess (v.). Verbal shrug phrase your guess is as good as mine attested from 1902. see anyone’s guess; educated guess; have another guess coming; your guess is as good as mine.

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