imply

verb
im·​ply | \ im-ˈplī \
implied; implying

Definition of imply

transitive verb

1 obsolete : enfold, entwine
2 : to involve or indicate by inference, association, or necessary consequence rather than by direct statement rights imply obligations
3 : to contain potentially
4 : to express indirectly Her remarks implied a threat. The news report seems to imply his death was not an accident.

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Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Infer vs. Imply: Usage Guide

Sir Thomas More is the first writer known to have used both infer and imply in their approved senses in 1528 (with infer meaning "to deduce from facts" and imply meaning "to hint at"). He is also the first to have used infer in a sense close in meaning to imply (1533). Both of these uses of infer coexisted without comment until some time around the end of World War I. Since then, the "indicate" and "hint or suggest" meanings of infer have been frequently condemned as an undesirable blurring of a useful distinction. The actual blurring has been done by the commentators. The "indicate" sense of infer, descended from More's use of 1533, does not occur with a personal subject. When objections arose, they were to a use with a personal subject (which is now considered a use of the "suggest, hint" sense of infer). Since dictionaries did not recognize this use specifically, the objectors assumed that the "indicate" sense was the one they found illogical, even though it had been in respectable use for four centuries. The actual usage condemned was a spoken one never used in logical discourse. At present the condemned "suggest, hint" sense is found in print chiefly in letters to the editor and other informal prose, not in serious intellectual writing. The controversy over the "suggest, hint" sense has apparently reduced the frequency with which the "indicate" sense of infer is used.

Examples of imply in a Sentence

Early reports implied that the judge's death was not an accident. His words implied a threat. War implies fighting and death.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Chris Harrison brings up Colton's virginity and implies that's a reason some of us weren't on board. Anna Moeslein, Glamour, "The Bachelor Season Premiere Recap: Did You Know Colton's a Virgin?," 7 Jan. 2019 Interest rate futures imply there is only about a 10% chance that the Fed will raise rates at all this year, with a nearly equal chance that the central bank ends up cutting rates instead. Justin Lahart, WSJ, "Fed Will Be the Bearer of Bad News," 2 Jan. 2019 After a shot of his funeral, the trailer shows Wilson answer her door to meet the other Mrs. Wilson, seeming to imply that Major Wilson has multiple families. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Actress Ruth Wilson will play her own grandmother in the new spy drama coming to PBS.," 19 Nov. 2018 Peterson, of Know Your IX, said limiting appeals only to the accused implies the university is more worried about making mistakes that impact that person than mistakes that impact the person who made the allegations. Morgan Watkins, The Courier-Journal, "Experts: University of Kentucky's sexual assault policy may be illegal," 11 July 2018 Elizabeth Tang, a legal fellow with the National Women’s Law Center, said incidental contact implies the encounter is unavoidable. Debbie Truong, Washington Post, "Teen says Virginia school failed to keep her safe from alleged attacker," 18 June 2018 The idea that Francis’s love for a gay man as a gay man somehow rips apart the fabric of the church and implies that Francis is guilty of heresy is absurd. Andrew Sullivan, Daily Intelligencer, "Why We Should Say Yes to Drugs," 25 May 2018 But postcard-size fliers implying that Williams, too, is a lawbreaker were piled up outside the doors to Tuesday night's regular meeting of the county Democratic committee on the second floor of the county courthouse in downtown Kansas City. Mike Hendricks, kansascity, "Dirty politics? Legislator says flier falsely links her to Mike Sanders' corruption | The Kansas City Star," 23 May 2018 What's more, tantalizing clues have continued to imply the existence of liquid water on Mars today. Jay Bennett, Popular Mechanics, "Underground Lake of Liquid Water Detected on Mars," 25 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'imply.' 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 imply

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for imply

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

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Learn More about imply

Dictionary Entries near imply

implumed

implunge

impluvium

imply

impocket

impofo

impolder

Statistics for imply

Last Updated

15 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for imply

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

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More Definitions for imply

imply

verb

English Language Learners 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

imply

verb
im·​ply | \ im-ˈplī \
implied; implying

Kids Definition of imply

: to express indirectly : suggest rather than say plainly Your remark implies that I am wrong.
im·​ply | \ im-ˈplī \
implied; implying

Legal Definition of imply

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 careHaase v. Starnes, 915 S.W.2d 675 (1996)
2 : to make known indirectly

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More from Merriam-Webster on imply

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with imply

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for imply

Spanish Central: Translation of imply

Nglish: Translation of imply for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of imply for Arabic Speakers

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