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

Over Thanksgiving weekend, the president pointed out that many parts of the US were experiencing extra-cold weather, implying that means global warming isn’t happening. Emily Stewart, Vox, "The US got its own section in the G20 statement on climate change," 3 Dec. 2018 The Chinese Communist Party continues to hold the families of political exiles and immigrants hostage, securing their silence with the implied — or direct — promise of harm. Emily Rauhala, Washington Post, "Poet Liu Xia escaped China, but will Beijing ever set her free?," 13 July 2018 In this sense, J.D. Power’s IQS is not reflective of quality, like the name implies, as much as consumer satisfaction. Aditi Shrikant, Vox, "How James David Power III created the only car ranking company you’ve ever heard of.," 27 Nov. 2018 Judge Kavanaugh fumbled his response, perhaps confused by the definite article, implying that there is but one male body. Matthew Hennessey, WSJ, "How to Read ‘Body’ Language," 15 Nov. 2018 This snapshot efficiently conveys that, years and years from now, almost nothing will have changed in the universe of The Walking Dead, other than Michonne’s implied death. Bryan Bishop, The Verge, "The Walking Dead has condemned itself for all time," 5 Nov. 2018 For example, in the beginning of episode three, Dawson says that Logan doesn't cry at funerals, seemingly implying this is indicative of sociopathy. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "What Mental Health Experts Want You to Know Before Watching the Buzzy New YouTube Series ‘The Mind of Jake Paul’," 12 Oct. 2018 The episode began a day earlier when Booker first implied Kavanaugh had been open to racial profiling tactics, citing the email exchange between Kavanaugh and a colleague. Alex Pappas | Fox News, Fox News, "‘Confidential’ Kavanaugh emails posted by Cory Booker were cleared, despite dramatic claim of defying rules," 2 Oct. 2018 At Ruby Ribbon, the median stylist income is $500 a month, implying that most work part-time. Carolyn Said, San Francisco Chronicle, "Selling bras like Tupperware: Ruby Ribbon reshapes direct sales," 8 June 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

17 Dec 2018

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

Comments on imply

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