a conclusion based on intuition
A Hunch is an understanding arrived at by circumstantial evidence. The phrase "where there's smoke, there's fire" describes the concept. The advantage is that when evidence mounts, even without direct connections, one may draw an analogy that has a substantial likelihood of being correct as in "I've seen that pattern before!" Of course, a Hunch is merely a suspicion. The danger is acting upon it as if it were fact.
syn. intuition, premonition, impression, suspicion