guess

guess
The informal use of I guess meaning ‘I think it likely, I suppose’ developed in America in the late 18c from the standard use of the phrase meaning ‘it is my opinion or hypothesis (that)’. The Americanness of the informal use has been marked throughout the 19c and much of the 20c, and it still has the flavour of an Americanism, but it is now widespread throughout the English-speaking world:

• No, I guess I don't look at him very much —Gore Vidal, 1955

• Martha. You remember them now? George. Yes, I guess so, Martha —Edward Albee, 1962

• I guess it takes a long time to grow up —M. Sarton, 1978

• I guess you're supposed to think to yourself that you're in a garden —R. Ingalls, 1985

I guess this is my bed and I have to lie on it. Wash the sheets, plump up the pillows and try to make the best of it-weblog, BrE 2005 [OEC].

Use of I guess as a tag at the end of a statement is characteristic of AmE:

• He would have been watching the returns in the Senate elections I guess —A. Broinowski, 1973

It's about a meter and a bit under water-about three or four feet, I guess?-weblog, CanE 2005 [OEC].


Modern English usage. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Guess — (g[e^]s), v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Guessed}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Guessing}.] [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.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Guess? — Guess?, Inc. Tipo Pública (NYSE: GES) Fundación Los Ángeles, CA (1981) …   Wikipedia Español

  • guess´er — guess «gehs», verb, noun. –v.t. 1. to form an opinion of without really knowing; conjecture; estimate: »to guess the height of a tree, guess what will happen next. 2. to get right by guessing: »Can you guess the answer to that riddle? 3. to think …   Useful english dictionary

  • guess — guess·able; guess·er; guess·ing·ly; guess; guess·ti·mate; …   English syllables

  • Guess — Guess, v. i. To make a guess or random judgment; to conjecture; with at, about, etc. [1913 Webster] This is the place, as well as I may guess. Milton. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Guess — Guess, n. 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. [1913 Webster] A poet must confess His art s like physic but a happy… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • guess — [ges] vt., vi. [ME gessen, to judge, estimate, prob. < MDu, akin to Dan gisse, Swed gissa, ON geta: for IE base see GET] 1. to form a judgment or estimate of (something) without actual knowledge or enough facts for certainty; conjecture;… …   English World dictionary

  • guess — vb *conjecture, surmise Analogous words: speculate, *think, reason: imagine, fancy (see THINK): gather, *infer, deduce: estimate, reckon (see CALCULATE) guess n conjecture, surmise (see under …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • guess — [n] belief, speculation assumption, ballpark figure*, conclusion, conjecture, deduction, divination, estimate, fancy, feeling, guesstimate*, guesswork, hunch*, hypothesis, induction, inference, judgment, notion, opinion, postulate, postulation,… …   New thesaurus

  • guess — ► VERB 1) estimate or suppose (something) without sufficient information to be sure of being correct. 2) correctly estimate or conjecture. 3) (I guess) informal, chiefly N. Amer. I suppose. ► NOUN ▪ an estimate or conjecture. DERIVATIVES …   English terms dictionary

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