construe

verb
con·strue | \kən-ˈstrü \
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 \

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 \ 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

Under a 1997 court settlement, children must be released from detention as quickly as possible, which generally has been construed to be within 20 days. Elliot Spagat, Time, "California Judge Orders Immigrant Families to Be Reunited Within 30 Days," 27 June 2018 Skeptics, including the foreign-policy experts who blanched when the president announced the embassy move, are trying to construe his actions as narrowly as possible. Eugene Kontorovich, WSJ, "America Recognizes One Jerusalem," 13 May 2018 Under a 1997 court settlement, children must be released from detention as quickly as possible, which generally has been construed to be within 20 days. Elliot Spagat, Time, "California Judge Orders Immigrant Families to Be Reunited Within 30 Days," 27 June 2018 The Senate and confirmations is construed in a certain way. Fox News, "Corker on what foreign policy will look like under Pompeo," 29 Apr. 2018 This race, no more than any other House primary, cannot be construed as a harbinger of what might happen nationally in November. Frank Rich, Daily Intelligencer, "Rot on the Right, Green Shoots on the Left," 28 June 2018 Yi said his and Lim’s presence on the six-member Fairfax City board should not be construed as any sort of voting bloc. Antonio Olivo, Washington Post, "Diverse Fairfax City elects Asian Americans to city council for the first time," 2 May 2018 Versus a constitutionalist that is -- yeah, would actually just uphold the constitution and construe and read the case law. Fox News, "Trump, Democrats gear up for Supreme Court showdown," 3 July 2018 Although the linguistic ties may be coincidental, Albanians construe the link as authentic, and see the eagle as a consistent symbol representing the Albanian people — dating to the 11th century. Ani Kokobobo, Washington Post, "For Albanians, it’s not just an eagle. Here’s the deeper story those World Cup fines.," 2 July 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

5 Sep 2018

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

: 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 \
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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Comments on construe

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