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

What initially seemed like a routine early season win over Idaho turned out to be a sign the Rebels were better than their record implied, with both Idaho and UNLV surging later in the season. Iliana Limón Romero, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Much improved UNLV is No. 81 in 2018 preseason college football rankings, eyeing bowl bid," 7 June 2018 The new finds imply that hominins covered vast distances before 2 million years ago—Shangchen is 14,000 kilometres from the nearest sites in East Africa where other hominins of this age have been found. Colin Barras, Scientific American, "Tools from China are Oldest Hint of Human Lineage Outside Africa," 11 July 2018 The timing strongly implied Alfa Bank was communicating with Trump. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Will Trump Be Meeting With His Counterpart — Or His Handler?," 8 July 2018 Look for implied or possibly veiled insults as much as possible, and make sure to defend yourself. Kelly G. Richardson, sandiegouniontribune.com, "HOA Homefront: Surefire steps to guarantee board meetings will last longer," 7 July 2018 That would imply a 6% decline from then until now (see right-hand chart). The Economist, "China’s statistics are bad. Many criticisms of them are worse," 7 July 2018 The clip, which is slightly doctored to include a superimposition of Baron Cohen’s face, also implies that Baron Cohen may have followed Trump’s advice, so to speak. Natasha Bach, Fortune, "Sacha Baron Cohen Is Upping His Feud With President Trump," 5 July 2018 But the article implied the differences were between Amy and you. Lacey Rose, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Sharp Objects': Jean-Marc Vallee on Anti-Heroes, Amy Adams and the Battle He Waged (and Lost)," 5 July 2018 Scientifically known as tectonic uplift, the rise also implies that up to 10 percent more ice has melted off the (WAIS) than previously assumed. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "The Bedrock Below West Antarctica Is Rising Shockingly Fast," 25 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

5 Nov 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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Comments on imply

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