de·​duce di-ˈdüs How to pronounce deduce (audio)
 chiefly British  -ˈdyüs
deduced; deducing

transitive verb

: to determine by reasoning or deduction
deduce the age of ancient artifacts
She deduced, from the fur stuck to his clothes, that he owned a cat.
specifically, philosophy : to infer (see infer sense 1) from a general principle
: to trace the course of
deduce their lineage
deducible adjective

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between deduction and induction?

Deductive reasoning, or deduction, is making an inference based on widely accepted facts or premises. If a beverage is defined as "drinkable through a straw," one could use deduction to determine soup to be a beverage. Inductive reasoning, or induction, is making an inference based on an observation, often of a sample. You can induce that the soup is tasty if you observe all of your friends consuming it. Read more on the difference between deduction and induction

What is the difference between abduction and deduction?

Abductive reasoning, or abduction, is making a probable conclusion from what you know. If you see an abandoned bowl of hot soup on the table, you can use abduction to conclude the owner of the soup is likely returning soon. Deductive reasoning, or deduction, is making an inference based on widely accepted facts or premises. If a meal is described as "eaten with a fork" you may use deduction to determine that it is solid food, rather than, say, a bowl of soup.

What is the difference between deduction and adduction?

Adduction is "the action of drawing (something, such as a limb) toward or past the median axis of the body," and "the bringing together of similar parts." Deduction may be "an act of taking away," or "something that is subtracted." Both words may be traced in part to the Latin dūcere, meaning "to lead."

Choose the Right Synonym for deduce

infer, deduce, conclude, judge, gather mean to arrive at a mental conclusion.

infer implies arriving at a conclusion by reasoning from evidence; if the evidence is slight, the term comes close to surmise.

from that remark, I inferred that they knew each other

deduce often adds to infer the special implication of drawing a particular inference from a generalization.

denied we could deduce anything important from human mortality

conclude implies arriving at a necessary inference at the end of a chain of reasoning.

concluded that only the accused could be guilty

judge stresses a weighing of the evidence on which a conclusion is based.

judge people by their actions

gather suggests an intuitive forming of a conclusion from implications.

gathered their desire to be alone without a word

Examples of deduce in a Sentence

I can deduce from the simple observation of your behavior that you're trying to hide something from me.
Recent Examples on the Web Andrew Granville Which leads to the question of what can and can’t be deduced from it. Jordana Cepelewicz, Quanta Magazine, 31 Aug. 2023 Considering the clues, Mr. Neto de Carvalho and his colleagues deduced that the bees had most likely met an abrupt demise. Sarah Derouin, New York Times, 20 Aug. 2023 Psychologist Mary Trump deduces, from family history and close observation, that her uncle, Donald Trump, meets the criteria for narcissistic as well as, probably, antisocial personality disorder, at the extreme end of which is sociopathy. Diana Kwon, Scientific American, 15 Aug. 2023 The species likely fed on flesh, the researchers deduced based on the configuration of their teeth. Julia Jacobo, ABC News, 10 Aug. 2023 Passwords with full words might be more easily deduced and therefore at greater risk of attack. Paige Hagy, Fortune, 8 Aug. 2023 Investigations must use the circumstantial evidence to deduce what has happened. Carrie Napoleon, Chicago Tribune, 26 May 2023 Dume filed an anonymous complaint about his colleagues’ actions but his department quickly deduced that the complaint came from him. Brittany Spanos, Rolling Stone, 20 June 2023 In one conversation about the scheme, Johnson gave a person, who is only identified by the initials A.F., information on a county police narcotics investigation, leading A.F. to deduce a possible police informant. Dan Belson, Baltimore Sun, 4 Apr. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'deduce.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, from Latin deducere, literally, to lead away, from de- + ducere to lead — more at tow entry 1

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of deduce was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near deduce

Cite this Entry

“Deduce.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


de·​duce di-ˈd(y)üs How to pronounce deduce (audio)
deduced; deducing
: to draw a conclusion about particular facts or examples by applying them to a general rule or principle
: to determine by reasoning from a general rule or principle
: to trace the course or origin of
deducible adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on deduce

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