infer

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

PIE root
*bʰer-

From Latin inferō.

Pronunciation[edit]

Verb[edit]

infer ‎(third-person singular simple present infers, present participle inferring, simple past and past participle inferred)

  1. (transitive) To introduce (something) as a reasoned conclusion; to conclude by reasoning or deduction, as from premises or evidence. [from 16th c.]
    • 2010, "Keep calm, but don't carry on", The Economist, 7 Oct 2010:
      It is dangerous to infer too much from martial bluster in British politics: at the first hint of trouble, channelling Churchill is a default tactic for beleaguered leaders of all sorts.
  2. (transitive) To lead to (something) as a consequence; to imply. (Now often considered incorrect, especially with a person as subject.) [from 16th c.]
  3. (obsolete) To cause, inflict (something) upon or to someone. [16th-18th c.]
    • 1596, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, VI.8:
      faire Serena [] fled fast away, afeard / Of villany to be to her inferd [].
  4. (obsolete) To introduce (a subject) in speaking, writing etc.; to bring in. [16th–18th c.]
    • Shakespeare
      Full well hath Clifford played the orator, / Inferring arguments of mighty force.

Usage notes[edit]

There are two ways in which the word "infer" is sometimes used as if it meant "imply". "Implication" is done by a person when making a "statement", whereas "inference" is done to a proposition after it had already been made or assumed. Secondly, the word "infer" can sometimes be used to mean "allude" or "express" in a suggestive manner rather than as a direct "statement". Using the word "infer" in this sense is now generally considered incorrect. [1] [2]

Synonyms[edit]

Related terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

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Anagrams[edit]


Latin[edit]

Verb[edit]

īnfer

  1. second-person singular present active imperative of īnferō