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From Latin inferō, from Latin in- (in, at, on; into) + Latin ferō (bear, carry; suffer) (cognate to Old English beran, whence English bear), from Proto-Italic *ferō, from Proto-Indo-European *bʰéreti (to bear, carry), from the root *bʰer-. Literally “carry forward”, equivalent to “bear in”, as in concluding from a premise.



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.]
    Synonyms: conclude, deduce, educe, construe
    • 2010 October 7, “Keep calm, but don't carry on”, in The Economist:
      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, often proscribed) To lead to (something) as a consequence; to imply. [from 16th c.]
    Synonyms: imply, suggest, entail
  3. (obsolete) To cause, inflict (something) upon or to someone. [16th–18th c.]
  4. (obsolete) To introduce (a subject) in speaking, writing etc.; to bring in, to adduce. [16th–18th c.]

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]

Related terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.






  1. second-person singular present active imperative of īnferō


  • infer”, in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • infer in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré latin-français, Hachette