Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

inference

play
noun in·fer·ence \ˈin-f(ə-)rən(t)s, -fərn(t)s\

Simple Definition of inference

  • : the act or process of reaching a conclusion about something from known facts or evidence

  • : a conclusion or opinion that is formed because of known facts or evidence

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of inference

  1. 1 :  the act or process of inferring (see infer): as a :  the act of passing from one proposition, statement, or judgment considered as true to another whose truth is believed to follow from that of the former b :  the act of passing from statistical sample data to generalizations (as of the value of population parameters) usually with calculated degrees of certainty

  2. 2 :  something that is inferred; especially :  a conclusion or opinion that is formed because of known facts or evidence

  3. 3 :  the premises and conclusion of a process of inferring

Examples of inference in a sentence

  1. In spite of the fact that there are virtually no controlled clinical trials examining the effects of obesity in people, we can make some inferences from animal research. —Patrick Johnson, Skeptical Inquirer, September/October 2005

  2. We cannot see a past event directly, but science is usually based on inference, not unvarnished observation (you don't see electrons, gravity, or black holes either). —Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life, 1989

  3. The writer of science fiction extends or projects or draws inferences from what is known and accepted. —Karl Kroeber, Romantic Fantasy and Science Fiction, 1988

  4. Its existence is only known by inference.

  5. The program uses records of past purchases to make inferences about what customers will buy in the future.

  6. What inference can we draw from these facts?



Origin and Etymology of inference

(see infer)


First Known Use: 1594


INFERENCE Defined for Kids

inference

play
noun in·fer·ence \ˈin-fə-rəns\

Definition of inference for Students

  1. 1 :  the act or process of reaching a conclusion about something from known facts

  2. 2 :  a conclusion or opinion reached based on known facts




Law Dictionary

inference

play
noun in·fer·ence \ˈin-fə-rəns\

Legal Definition of inference

  1. 1 :  the act or process of inferring; specifically :  the act of passing from one proposition, statement, or judgment considered as true to another whose truth is believed to follow logically from that of the former

  2. 2 :  something inferred; especially :  a proposition arrived at by inference — see also permissive presumption at presumption

  3. 3 :  the premises and conclusions of a process of inferring





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up inference? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to criticize in a loud and angry way

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

confounded-person

Which is a synonym of indolent?

frenetic lazy melancholy philistine
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ