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 This does not imply that markets foresaw the pandemic. The Economist, "Free exchange New research casts light on the pandemic’s effects on resource allocation," 20 June 2020 In a business context, the terms often imply a problem-solving process focused on customers—one that involves gaining deeper insight into customer needs or desires in order to develop or improve a particular product or service. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, "“You are never stuck”: How to find job satisfaction in an age of upheaval," 16 June 2020 But to imply that those who do decide to play aren’t sincere in their commitment to social justice is unfair. Terry Pluto, cleveland, "Hey Kyrie Irving, easy for you not to skip Orlando, but what about the others?," 16 June 2020 The presence of a regular sequence in the burst activity could imply that the powerful bursts are linked to the orbital motion of a massive star, a neutron star or a black hole, according to the University of Manchester. Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, "More 'fast radio bursts' have been detected from a distant galaxy. This one has a repeating pattern.," 10 June 2020 Trans and non-binary people are not a threat to women, and to imply otherwise puts trans people at risk. Madeleine Carlisle, Time, "'Transgender Women are Women.' Daniel Radcliffe Speaks Out Against J.K. Rowling's Controversial Comments About Transgender People," 9 June 2020 And this is not to imply that Franz and Wolfley had the same intentions as Ingraham. Bill Goodykoontz, azcentral, "In the wake of Drew Brees hypocrisy, Laura Ingraham must do better. And she's not alone," 6 June 2020 These developments imply that China is now a formidable competitor for a large number of hi-tech US firms that traditionally dominate with innovations. Prabhudev Konana For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, "The United States must end its mindless reliance on China," 5 June 2020 Sleep, the researchers imply, is not solely the province of neuroscience, but something more deeply threaded into the biochemistry that knits together the animal kingdom. Quanta Magazine, "Why Sleep Deprivation Kills," 4 June 2020

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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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

23 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Imply.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/imply. Accessed 2 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for imply

imply

verb
How to pronounce imply (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for imply

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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