English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Do these phrases convey the same meaning? Is an informed guess by definition, also, an educated guess?

share|improve this question
My favorite will always be SWAG, or "scientific wild-ass guess." – MT_Head Jun 2 '11 at 23:57
up vote 4 down vote accepted

The following phrases share semantics (in appropriate context):

  • informed guess,
  • educated guess,
  • ballpark figure,
  • conjecture,
  • estimation,
  • guesstimate,
  • guess,

which are all listed as (potential) synonyms for approximation.

Differences: (emphasized, in every day use these are very subtle if present at all)

Educated guess, presumes established competency (formal or informal) in the field in which the guess is made.

Informed guess, I think, is typically used when the one who is making a guess got informed through a specific action. For example in such cases as after briefing, examination, interrogation or an interview.

Often the distinction is not made, because it can be said that in an ordinary context one can not be educated without being informed and vice versa.

share|improve this answer

I would treat these terms as synonymous. Both "informed" and "educated" work to establish the speaker as having some kind of privileged knowledge rendering the guess in question as being more reliable than not.

We could, I suppose, try to parse the difference between the two qualifiers as having some slight nuance but that would be pushing the envelope.

share|improve this answer

An "educated guess" is a guess, but one that is based on circumstantial evidence. E.g. he notes that you are sporty, so an "educated guess" would be you liked soccer. That may not be true, you may like "sprinting", but the guess is based on circumstantial evidence.

An "informed guess" is a synonym of "educated guess".

share|improve this answer
If there is previous specific information does not imply that the thing is actually known; guess is defined as "predict, assume, presume, or assert without sufficient information." I think you talk about an informed 'guess' i.e. not guess at all to begin with. – Unreason Jun 3 '11 at 11:04

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.