to second guess

Idiom Definition

Idiom Definition - second guess

"to second guess"

1) to criticize or question actions or decisions often after the results of those actions or decisions are known

2) to seek to anticipate or predict


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - second guess

Two colleagues are talking ...

Colleague 1: Looks like Aaron's idea to gain market share did not work. I suppose he should have chosen a different package design or maybe launched in a different region.

Colleague 2: There is no point in second guessing what might have been done differently. What was done was done and the results speak for themselves.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - second guess

Two friends are talking ...

Friend 1: How do you think Pat will react to the news?

Friend 2: It is really hard to say but I think he will be OK.

Friend 1: I am not so sure. I think he will take the news badly.

Friend 2: Well, why second-guess Pat's reaction. Let's just give him the news and see how he reacts.

Test Your Understanding  

to second guess - Usage:


Usage Frequency Index:   1,656   click for frequency by country

to second guess - Gerund Form:

Second guessing your spouse's intentions can land you in a lot of trouble.

to second guess - Examples:

1)  You might feel confused after being with a controller, and second guess yourself all the time. That's just the way a controller likes it.

2)  Raymond demonstrates and gestures with the unloaded gun overhead, I duck. I second guess my decision to be here.

3)  ... what others decide to do for themselves I'm not going to second guess or judge.

4)  I wanted someone who was enthusiastic about seeing me. But then I would second guess myself and end up giving him another chance.

5)  ... defining a new relationship can seem pretty freaky. As we second guess every text message and over-analyze each date to the point of insanity, we often ...

6)  Don't waste time trying to second guess how Google does it so that you can present yourself to Google as having a ...

7)  You made the choice. Don't second guess yourself. Pursue that choice now with everything you've got.

8)  I didn't want to second guess or doubt myself, so I just did it. 

9)  Don't second guess her motivations, that road leads to sleepless nights and angst.

10)  ... to posture in a brilliant display of perceived strength so that the enemy would second guess itself and submit or back-off.

11)  I try not to second guess other parents' choices. Their kids and their situations are different from mine.

12)  ... or because you're micromanaging them -- if you hover over their shoulder and second guess their every action, they're going to be reluctant to do anything without you.

13)  He wasn't worried about what she thought about him, or trying to second guess what he thought she might like. 

14)  She confessed to not being as confident on the court and second guessing some of her decisions. 

15)  The judges were instructed to apply the approach without second guessing the information presented in the evidence profile or the approach. 

16)  I can get a bit messed up second-guessing other people's email sometimes. 

17)  I don't understand why some Americans try to second-guess Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict in matters of Faith and Morals.

18)  A couple of months later, when December hit, I started to second-guess the kid's decision to donate all of their Christmas money.

19)  ... you to do your own research, ask as many questions as needed, second-guess your doctor, second guess the system.

20)  You are attempting to second-guess their business decisions without knowing why they made them.