on spec



Abbreviation of on speculation.


on spec (not comparable)

  1. In hope of success, using one's best guess
    • 1889, Banjo Paterson, Clancy of the Overflow
      I had written him a letter which I had, for want of better
      Knowledge, sent to where I met him down the Lachlan, years ago,
      He was shearing when I knew him, so I sent the letter to him,
      Just on spec, addressed as follows, “Clancy, of The Overflow”.
  2. (colloquial, business, of creating a work) With the hope of selling it, as opposed to on commission (for hire).
    I'm writing an article on spec. I hope some magazine will buy it.
    • 1955, Rex Stout, "The Next Witness", in Three Witnesses, October 1994 Bantam edition, →ISBN, page 36:
      "Why doubt his guilt?"
      Wolfe's shoulders went up a fraction of an inch, and down again. "Divination. Contrariety."
      "I see." Unger pursed his midget mouth, which didn't need pursing. "You're shooting at it on spec."