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verb im·ply \im-ˈplī\

Simple Definition of imply

  • : to express (something) in an indirect way : to suggest (something) without saying or showing it plainly

  • : to include or involve (something) as a natural or necessary part or result

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of imply



  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 obsolete :  enfold, entwine

  3. 2 :  to involve or indicate by inference, association, or necessary consequence rather than by direct statement <rights imply obligations>

  4. 3 :  to contain potentially

  5. 4 :  to express indirectly <his silence implied consent>

Usage Discussion of imply

See Usage Discussion at infer

Examples of imply in a sentence

  1. Early reports implied that the judge's death was not an accident.

  2. His words implied a threat.

  3. War implies fighting and death.

Origin and Etymology of imply

Middle English emplien, from Anglo-French emplier to entangle — more at employ

First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of imply

suggest, imply, hint, intimate, insinuate mean to convey an idea indirectly. suggest may stress putting into the mind by association of ideas, awakening of a desire, or initiating a train of thought <a film title that suggests its subject matter>. imply is close to suggest but may indicate a more definite or logical relation of the unexpressed idea to the expressed <measures implying that bankruptcy was imminent>. hint implies the use of slight or remote suggestion with a minimum of overt statement <hinted that she might get the job>. intimate stresses delicacy of suggestion without connoting any lack of candor <intimates that there is more to the situation than meets the eye>. insinuate applies to the conveying of a usually unpleasant idea in a sly underhanded manner <insinuated that there were shady dealings>.

Rhymes with imply

aby, agley, air-dry, Alai, ally, Altai, anti, apply, assai, awry, aye-aye, Bacchae, Baha'i, banzai, barfly, bee fly, Belgae, belie, bigeye, big lie, black eye, blackfly, black tie, blow-dry, blowby, blowfly, blue-sky, Bo Hai, bone-dry, bonsai, botfly, Brunei, buckeye, bugeye, bye-bye, canaille, catchfly, cat's-eye, Chennai, chess pie, Chiang Mai, cockeye, cockshy, come by, comply, cow pie, crane fly, cross-eye, deadeye, decry, deep-fry, deep-sky, deerfly, defy, Delphi, deny, descry, do by, dong quai, drip-dry, drop by, dry eye, dry fly, elhi, Eli, espy, face fly, firefly, fish-eye, flesh fly, flyby, fly high, forby, freeze-dry, frogeye, fruit fly, gadfly, gallfly, get by, GI, glass eye, go by, good-bye, greenfly, grisaille, gun-shy, Haggai, Hawkeye, heel fly, hereby, hi-fi, hog-tie, horn fly, horsefly, housefly, jai alai, July, Karzai, Kasai, knee-high, lanai, Lanai, lay-by, lay by, Lehigh, let fly, Levi, lie by, magpie, mai tai, mao-tai, Masai, mayfly, medfly, mind's eye, Moirai, mooneye, Mumbai, my eye, nearby, necktie, nilgai, nisi, outbye, outcry, oxeye, pad thai, Panay, panfry, Parcae, piece-dye, pigsty, pinkeye, Po Hai, pop eye, pop fly, potpie, put by, Qinghai, quasi, rabbi, red-eye, rely, reply, rib eye, ride high, rocaille, rough-dry, run dry, Sakai, sand fly, sci-fi, screw eye, semi, Sendai, serai, set by, shanghai, Shanghai, sheep's eye, shoofly, shut-eye, Sinai, sky-high, small-fry, stand by, standby, stir-fry, string tie, supply, swear by, terai, test-fly, thereby, tie-dye, titi, tongue-tie, Transkei, twist tie, two-ply, untie, vat dye, Versailles, walleye, well-nigh, whereby, whitefly, wild rye, wise guy

IMPLY Defined for Kids


verb im·ply \im-ˈplī\

Definition of imply for Students



  1. :  to express indirectly :  suggest rather than say plainly <Your remark implies that I am wrong.>

Law Dictionary


transitive verb im·ply \im-ˈplī\

Legal Definition of imply



  1. 1 :  to recognize as existing by inference or necessary consequence especially on legal or equitable grounds <in ordinary circumstances…the law would imply that it was the duty of the hospital to use due care — Haase v. Starnes, 915 S.W.2d 675 (1996)>

  2. 2 :  to make known indirectly

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