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 But that doesn’t necessarily imply that the various self-driving car efforts are all mindfully focusing on those specific potential issues and ergo devoting substantive resources toward those particular types of errors or bugs. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 5 June 2021 Now, this doesn’t necessarily imply that iOS 15 will be a boring update. Yoni Heisler, BGR, 4 June 2021 The average for any date does not imply that the actual conditions encountered on that date need be anything like that. Washington Post, 26 May 2021 Just don’t imply to A.J. Foyt, who started between American open-wheel racing legends Rick Mears and Mario Andretti, that anything was uniquely special about a 500 in his past. Nathan Brown, The Indianapolis Star, 24 May 2021 Does that imply there might also be a risk of becoming too emotionally comfortable? Tim Vernimmen, Smithsonian Magazine, 11 May 2021 This can be compared to President Biden’s goal of carbon-free electricity by 2035-2040, which gives numbers that imply a changeover ratio of 2.9. Ian Palmer, Forbes, 26 May 2021 Newsrooms often go to great lengths to prevent their employees from partaking in any activity that could even imply a conflict of interest. Heidi Stevens, chicagotribune.com, 21 May 2021 Recipients of aid often must submit to drug tests, interviews and proof of employment -- restrictions that imply poor people can't be trusted to make their own decisions. John Blake, CNN, 16 May 2021

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

Time Traveler for imply

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for imply

Last Updated

12 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Imply.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/imply. Accessed 21 Jun. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on imply

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for imply

Nglish: Translation of imply for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of imply for Arabic Speakers

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