Etymology of Speculate

In the sense of calculating and planning market trends, which dates back to the mid-eighteenth century, we find the reference in the Latin speculāri, interpreted as ‘observing from above’, given the association with the word specula, interpreted as a space of observation comprising the top of a tower or an observatory, from the verb specio, which refers to the action of observing, set in the Indo-European reference *spek-, ‘to look’. In this line, the adjective is posed as ‘speculative’ from the Latin speculātor.

Nonetheless, there is a second word, and meaning that often mistakes the passage to the root of this term, which formerly applies to transparency, reflection and specifically to ‘mirror’. From the verb specio the variant speculum is thus derived, as a medium of appreciation or more specifically a ‘mirror’.

The influence of these roots can be seen in the configuration of ‘spectator’ (identified in Latin as spectātor), ‘expectation’ (from the Latin exspectātum), ‘perspective’ (from the Latin word perspicĕre) or ‘inspection’ (from the Latin inspectio).

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