guess vs infer what difference

what is difference between guess and infer



  • enPR: gĕs, IPA(key): /ɡɛs/
  • Rhymes: -ɛs

Etymology 1

From Middle English gessen, probably of North Germanic origin, from Old Danish getse, gitse, getsa (to guess), from Old Norse *getsa, *gitsa, from Proto-Germanic *gitisōną (to guess), from Proto-Germanic *getaną (to get), from Proto-Indo-European *gʰed- (to take, seize). Cognate with Danish gisse (to guess), Norwegian gissa, gjette (to guess), Swedish gissa (to guess), Saterland Frisian gisje (to guess), Dutch gissen (to guess), Low German gissen (to guess). Related also to Icelandic giska (“to guess”; from Proto-Germanic *gitiskōną). Compare also Russian гада́ть (gadátʹ, to conjecture, guess, divine), Albanian gjëzë (riddle) from gjej (find, recover, obtain). More at get.


guess (third-person singular simple present guesses, present participle guessing, simple past and past participle guessed)

  1. To reach a partly (or totally) unqualified conclusion.
  2. To solve by a correct conjecture; to conjecture rightly.
  3. (chiefly US) to suppose (introducing a proposition of uncertain plausibility).
    • 1714, Alexander Pope, Imitations of Horace
      But in known images of life I guess / The labour greater.
  4. (colloquial) To think, conclude, or decide (without a connotation of uncertainty). Usually in first person: “I guess”.
  5. (obsolete) To hit upon or reproduce by memory.
  • hypothesize
  • take a stab
  • speculate
  • assume
Derived terms

Etymology 2

From Middle English gesse. Cognate with Dutch gis (a guess).


guess (plural guesses)

  1. A prediction about the outcome of something, typically made without factual evidence or support.
    Synonyms: estimate, hypothesis, prediction
Derived terms

Further reading

  • guess in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.
  • guess in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911.


  • Guses



From Latin inferō, from Latin in- (in, at, on; into) + Latin ferō (bear, carry; suffer) (cognate to Old English beran, whence English bear), from Proto-Italic *ferō, from Proto-Indo-European *bʰéreti (to bear, carry), from the root *bʰer-. Literally “carry forward”, equivalent to “bear in”, as in concluding from a premise.


  • (General American) IPA(key): /ɪnˈfɝ/
  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ɪnˈfɜː/
  • Rhymes: -ɜː(ɹ)


infer (third-person singular simple present infers, present participle inferring, simple past and past participle inferred)

  1. (transitive) To introduce (something) as a reasoned conclusion; to conclude by reasoning or deduction, as from premises or evidence. [from 16th c.]
    • 2010, “Keep calm, but don’t carry on”, The Economist, 7 Oct 2010:
      It is dangerous to infer too much from martial bluster in British politics: at the first hint of trouble, channelling Churchill is a default tactic for beleaguered leaders of all sorts.
  2. (transitive) To lead to (something) as a consequence; to imply. (Now often considered incorrect, especially with a person as subject.) [from 16th c.]
    • a. 1535, Thomas More, letter to Fryth
      the fyrste parte is not the proofe of the second. but rather contrarywyse the seconde inferreth well yͤ fyrst.
  3. (obsolete) To cause, inflict (something) upon or to someone. [16th-18th c.]
    • 1596, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, VI.8:
      faire Serena [] fled fast away, afeard / Of villany to be to her inferd [].
  4. (obsolete) To introduce (a subject) in speaking, writing etc.; to bring in. [16th–18th c.]

Usage notes

There are two ways in which the word “infer” is sometimes used as if it meant “imply”. “Implication” is done by a person when making a “statement”, whereas “inference” is done to a proposition after it had already been made or assumed. Secondly, the word “infer” can sometimes be used to mean “allude” or “express” in a suggestive manner rather than as a direct “statement”. Using the word “infer” in this sense is now generally considered incorrect. [1] [2]


  • assume, conclude, deduce, educe, construe

Related terms

  • inferable
  • inference
  • illative
  • illation
  • -ferous (-iferous)



  • -frine, Finer, finer, frine



  • (Classical) IPA(key): /ˈin.fer/, [ˈĩːfɛɾ]
  • (Ecclesiastical) IPA(key): /ˈin.fer/, [ˈinfɛr]



  1. second-person singular present active imperative of īnferō


  • infer in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • infer in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré Latin-Français, Hachette

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