imply

verb
im·​ply | \ im-ˈplī How to pronounce imply (audio) \
implied; implying

Definition of imply

transitive verb

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

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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

Locke believed that the gospel message of divine mercy — intended for all — implied political liberalism. Joseph Loconte, National Review, "The Need for a Revival of Lockean Liberalism," 11 Sep. 2019 There was a time when filmmakers recognized the dramatic power of implying the past by etching a character’s present life with force and insight. Stephen Farber, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Judy': Film Review | Telluride 2019," 31 Aug. 2019 Just like the name implies, the monthly column will cover vineyards and the wine industry related to Ramona. Julie Gallant, Ramona Sentinel, "Vines & Wines: Rainy weather holds promise for robust harvest," 30 Aug. 2019 The feat is more impressive given that the UK economy grew more than three times larger from 1965 to today, implying that the amount of energy required to produce each pound of economic output has fallen precipitously. Akshat Rathi, Quartz, "The UK now consumes as much energy as 50 years ago—with an economy three times larger," 5 Aug. 2019 The legislation follows complaints by elections officials and voters that the American Independent Party’s name wrongly implies that the group is nonpartisan. John Myers, latimes.com, "California political parties couldn’t use ‘independent’ in their names under proposal," 21 June 2019 Researchers in Sweden found that dogs’ anxiety levels rose along with those of their humans, implying that the pets are highly attuned to their human companions’ moods. Maddie Burakoff, Smithsonian, "Keep Calm and Don’t Stress Out the Dog," 7 June 2019 Correction posted February 6, 2009 The original version implied that the cuts were retroactive. The Christian Science Monitor, "Corrections," 4 Mar. 2019 While correlation does not imply causation, the parallels between Trump’s words and the violent actions that follow are uncanny. Zach Schermele, Teen Vogue, "Donald Trump's Ideology Is Supporting Political Violence," 30 Oct. 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 4

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

8 Oct 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 How to pronounce imply (audio) \
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 How to pronounce imply (audio) \
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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