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 Dictionary entry overview: What does speculative mean? 

SPECULATIVE (adjective)
  The adjective SPECULATIVE has 3 senses:

1. not financially safe or secure
2. not based on fact or investigation
3. showing curiosity

  Familiarity information: SPECULATIVE used as an adjective is uncommon.

 Dictionary entry details 

SPECULATIVE (adjective)

Sense 1speculative [BACK TO TOP]


Not financially safe or secure


high-risk; speculative; risky; bad

Context examples:

a bad investment / high risk investments / anything that promises to pay too much can't help being risky / speculative business enterprises


unsound (not sound financially)

Sense 2speculative [BACK TO TOP]


Not based on fact or investigation


speculative; notional

Context examples:

a notional figure of cost helps in determining production costs / speculative knowledge


theoretic; theoretical (concerned primarily with theories or hypotheses rather than practical considerations)

Sense 3speculative [BACK TO TOP]


Showing curiosity


inquisitive; wondering; questioning; speculative

Context examples:

if someone saw a man climbing a light post they might get inquisitive / raised a speculative eyebrow


curious (eager to investigate and learn or learn more (sometimes about others' concerns))

 Learn English with... Proverbs of the week 
"It takes two to tango." (English proverb)

"Someone else's pain is easy to carry" (Breton proverb)

"All mankind is divided into three classes: those that are immovable, those that are moveable, and those that move." (Arabic proverb)

"No news is good news." (Dutch proverb)

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