construe

verb
con·​strue | \ kən-ˈstrü How to pronounce construe (audio) \
construed; construing

Definition of construe

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to analyze the arrangement and connection of words in (a sentence or sentence part) construe this Latin sentence by Cicero
2 : to understand or explain the sense or intention of usually in a particular way or with respect to a given set of circumstances construed my actions as hostile Her frustration was construed as anger.

intransitive verb

: to construe a sentence or sentence part especially in connection with translating

construe

noun
con·​strue | \ ˈkän-ˌstrü How to pronounce construe (audio) \

Definition of construe (Entry 2 of 2)

: an act or the result of construing especially by piecemeal translation

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Other Words from construe

Verb

construable \ kən-​ˈstrü-​ə-​bəl How to pronounce construable (audio) \ adjective

Did You Know?

Construe can usually be translated as "interpret". It's often used in law; thus, an Attorney General might construe the term "serious injury" in a child-abuse law to include bruises, or a judge might construe language about gifts to "heirs" to include spouses. The IRS's construal of some of your activities might be different from your own—and much more expensive at tax time. Construing is also close to translating; so when the British say "public school", for instance, it should be construed or translated as "prep school" in American terms.

Examples of construe in a Sentence

Verb

The way the court construes various words has changed over time. the role of the justices of the Supreme Court in construing the constitution

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

James’ comments were construed in some circles as campaigning for Davis. Brett Martel, The Seattle Times, "Agent: Anthony Davis tells New Orleans that he wants a trade," 29 Jan. 2019 Nor should it be construed as a measurement of the stock market valuation. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Economists calculate the true value of Facebook to its users in new study," 27 Dec. 2018 But in recent months, after many people construed the policy as an automatic full year, Netflix executives discussed reining it in, people familiar with the situation said. Joe Flint, WSJ, "At Netflix, Radical Transparency and Blunt Firings Unsettle the Ranks," 25 Oct. 2018 Consequently, the award is construed to be prestigious. Valerie Strauss, Washington Post, "Who wins the annual Forbes’ “30 Under 30” education awards? New study details telling links between judges and winners," 3 July 2018 This supposed payment would have violated NCAA amateurism rules and been construed by NCAA enforcement officers as an impermissible inducement to a recruit’s parent. Michael Mccann, SI.com, "Breaking Down Kevin Ollie's Case Against UConn and the University's Likely Defenses," 29 June 2018 Doing so might be construed as an admission of wrongdoing, prompting even more lawsuits than already exist. Cheryl Wischhover, Vox, "Johnson & Johnson accused of hiding the asbestos in its baby powder for decades," 14 Dec. 2018 Nothing in this Act shall be construed as permitting insurers to limit access to health coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions. Jason Lewis, WSJ, "Who Lost The House? John McCain," 11 Nov. 2018 Lessons from the Arab Spring Iraqi politics is often construed as the politics of elites who strike deals among themselves to divide the spoils of power. Benedict Robin, Washington Post, "Why everyone failed to predict the leftist-Islamist alliance that won Iraq’s 2018 elections," 7 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'construe.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of construe

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun

1844, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for construe

Verb

Middle English, from Late Latin construere, from Latin, to construct

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Statistics for construe

Last Updated

7 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for construe

The first known use of construe was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for construe

construe

verb

English Language Learners Definition of construe

somewhat formal
: to understand (an action, event, remark, etc.) in a particular way
: to understand the meaning of (a word, phrase, or sentence)

construe

verb
con·​strue | \ kən-ˈstrü How to pronounce construe (audio) \
construed; construing

Kids Definition of construe

: to understand or explain the sense or intention of He mistakenly construed my actions as unfriendly.

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More from Merriam-Webster on construe

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with construe

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for construe

Spanish Central: Translation of construe

Nglish: Translation of construe for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of construe for Arabic Speakers

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