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be (not) supposed to (do something)

To be expected to do something. Often used in the negative to indicate that one is expected to avoid doing something. I'm supposed to watch my little sister tonight, so I can't go out with you guys. You're not supposed to play with Dad's tools when he's not home!
See also: supposed

What's that supposed to mean?

What is someone suggesting, alluding to, or insinuating? Often used when angered or irritated by what was said. What exactly is that supposed to me? I have never taken a bribe in my entire life, if that's what you mean! A: "Of course, you wouldn't know anything about a hard day's work." B: "Hey, what's that supposed to mean? I work hard!"
See also: supposed, that

supposed to

1. Intended, expected, or believed to do something. This new software is supposed to make things a lot more efficient, but I find it so confusing that everything is taking me twice as long! We're supposed to arrive around 3 PM, assuming our flights aren't delayed.
2. Required or obligated to do something. I was supposed to be home an hour ago—my parents are going to kill me! Please don't distract him, he's supposed to be cleaning his room.
3. Allowed or permitted to do something. (Chiefly used in questions and negative constructions.) You're not supposed to go in there! Are you sure you're supposed to be in here?
See also: supposed

(It's) not supposed to.

 and (Someone's) not supposed to.
a phrase indicating that someone or something is not meant to do something. (Often with a person's name or a pronoun as a subject. See the examples.) Fred: This little piece keeps falling off. Clerk: It's not supposed to. Bill: Tom just called from Detroit and says he's coming back tomorrow. Mary: That's funny. He's not supposed to.
See also: not, supposed

supposed to

 and someone or something is supposed to
Someone or something is meant to do something. (Frequently, in speech, supposed is reduced to s'posed. The words someone or something can be replaced with nouns or pronouns, or used themselves.) Mary: They didn't deliver the flowers we ordered. Sue: Supposed to. Give them a call. Sally: This screw doesn't fit into hole number seven in the way the instructions say it should. Bill: It's supposed to. Something's wrong.
See also: supposed

supposed to do something

expected or intended to do something; obliged or allowed to do something. You're supposed to say "excuse me" when you burp. Mom says you're supposed to come inside for dinner now.
See also: supposed

supposed to

1. Intended to; also, believed to, expected to. For example, This pill is supposed to relieve your pain, or You're supposed to be my partner. [Early 1300s]
2. Required to, as in He is supposed to call home. [Mid-1800s]
3. not supposed to. Not permitted to, as in You're not supposed to smoke in here.
See also: supposed

(not) be supˈposed to (do something)

1 (not) be expected or required to do something by rules, the law, an agreement, etc: She’s supposed to do an hour’s homework every evening.We’re not supposed to be at the party for an hour yet.
2 (used only in negative sentences) be not allowed to do something: You’re not supposed to walk on the grass.
See also: supposed

what’s ˈthat supposed to mean?

(informal) used when you are angry at what somebody has said, or do not fully understand it: ‘You aren’t the most popular person at school, you know.’ ‘What’s that supposed to mean?’
See also: supposed, that
References in periodicals archive ?
forces were sent in without an explicit go-ahead from the Security Council, but this supposed unilateralism did not make President Bush anti-UN; it did indicate that he was more determined than the UN Security Council to enforce UN demands.
What THE NEW AMERICAN warned about last year--the deification of the state, and the near-deification of the president--National Review, the supposed flagship of the conservative movement, now prescribes as conservative orthodoxy.
By talking to real people, Stewart does turn up a meeting between Foster and Thomases at a supposed "safe house" a short time before his death.
troops were supposed to go in, protect relief efforts until the threat of mass starvation receded, and get out by Inauguration Day.