A Dictionary of the English Language
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Guess (verb active 1)

View Scan · View Transcription · from page 948

View Scan · View Transcription · from page 948

To Guess. v.a. [ghissen, Dutch.]

  1. To conjecture; to judge without any certain principles of judgment.

    Incapable and shallow innocents!
    You cannot guess who caus'd your father's death.

    Let not your ears despise my tongue for ever,
    Which shall possess them with the heaviest sound
    That ever yet they heard.
    — Hum! I guess at it.
    Shakes. Macbeth.

    He that, by reason of his swift motions, can inform himself of all places and preparations, should he not very often guess rightly of things to come, where God pleaseth not to give impediment? Raleigh's History of the World.

                There issue swarming bands
    Of ambush'd men, whom, by their arms and dress,
    To be Taxcallan enemies I guess.
    Dryd. Indian Emperor.

    The same author ventures to guess at the particular fate which would attend the Roman government. Swift.

    Nor can imagination guess,
    How that ungrateful charming maid
    My purest passion has betray'd.

  2. To conjecture rightly.

    One may guess by Plato's writings, that his meaning, as to the inferiour deities, was, that they who would have them might, and they who would not, might let them alone; but that himself had a right opinion concerning the true God. Stillingfleet's Defece of Disc. on Rom. Idol.

Sources: Dryden, John (788) · Shakespeare's Macbeth (136) · Raleigh, Walter (68) · Shakespeare's Richard III (63) · Stillingfleet, Edward (37) · Swift, Jonathan (306)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Guess (verb active 1)." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: November 1, 2012. https://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/guess-verb-active-1/.

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