im·​port | \ im-ˈpȯrt, ˈim-ˌpȯrt \
imported; importing; imports

Definition of import

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to bear or convey as meaning or portent : signify
b archaic : express, state
c : imply
2 : to bring from a foreign or external source: such as
a : to bring (something, such as merchandise) into a place or country from another country
b : to transfer (files or data) from one format to another usually within a new file
3 archaic : to be of importance to : concern

intransitive verb

: to be of consequence : matter


im·​port | \ ˈim-ˌpȯrt \

Definition of import (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : importance especially : relative importance it is hard to judge the import of this decision
3 : something that is imported

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Other Words from import


importable \ im-​ˈpȯr-​tə-​bəl , ˈim-​ˌpȯr-​ \ adjective
importer noun

Examples of import in a Sentence


a dealer who imports cars from Italy to the U.S. software that makes it simple to import digital photographs onto your hard drive


This car is an import from Italy. They sell luxury imports from around the world. laws affecting the import of foreign goods This is an issue of little import to voters. a matter of great import
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

If the flavors are sincere, however, that's because they're imported from Emilia-Romagna, along with Torno Subito's chef, Bernardo Paladini, who previously helmed Gucci Osteria and Osteria Franceschetta. Adam Robb, Condé Nast Traveler, "Behind the Scenes at Massimo Bottura's New Dubai Restaurant," 27 Dec. 2018 Violet Teriti, the extension artist who put in Jenner's 30-inch custom ponytail, explained to Refinery29 exactly why the 400 grams of hair imported from Russia were so expensive. Lily Rose, Teen Vogue, "Kylie Jenner’s Birthday Hair Extensions Cost Nearly $8,000," 16 Aug. 2018 The company filed for an exclusion for steel imported from Japan, which was granted on June 20. Diana Budds, Curbed, "How Trump’s tariffs are affecting the furniture industry," 7 Aug. 2018 According to Laury Parramore, a spokeswoman for the Fish and Wildlife Service, the agency hasn’t yet prosecuted anyone for importing fish illegally caught with cyanide because of the lack of a viable test. National Geographic, "‘Holy Grail' Test for Illegal Cyanide-Caught Aquarium Fish May Be Fatally Flawed," 5 June 2018 Roberge and her two friends — Isabelle Lagace, 29, and Andrew Tamine, 63 — were jailed and charged with importing a commercial quantity of cocaine, which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison. Steve Helling,, "Judge Scolds ‘Cocaine Babe’ Who Said She Went on Drug Cruise for ‘Likes and Attention’ on Instagram," 19 Apr. 2018 At this price level, sheets and pillowcases are sold individually and often imported. Hannah Morrill, ELLE Decor, "The Best Luxury Sheets For the Perfect Night's Sleep," 15 Nov. 2018 The pathways that trellised the fragrant herb garden outside the chatelaine’s bedroom and in the far-flung potager were made from bricks imported by the British, who used them as ballast for their ships. Hamish Bowles, Vogue, "Inside Tory Burch’s Lovingly Restored Antigua Getaway," 15 Aug. 2018 Up until last year, the large majority of asbestos production—and 95 percent of what is imported to the U.S.—occurred in Brazil. Alissa Walker, Curbed, "AIA says EPA should impose a ‘blanket ban’ on asbestos," 9 Aug. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Apple unveiled its newest line of smartphones, computers and devices at its annual meeting Wednesday, while President Trump continued his threats to tax companies billions of dollars on Chinese imports. Fox News, "FOX NEWS FIRST: Florence downgraded, but still very dangerous; Another bad night for 'Bernie Sanders Democrats'," 13 Sep. 2018 On July 6th America imposed 25% duties on Chinese imports worth about $34bn. The Economist, "Donald Trump insists on trade reciprocity. But what kind?," 12 July 2018 The latest proof came just after midnight Friday, in the form of $34 billion in new tariffs imposed on Chinese imports. Evan Horowitz,, "There are no bullets or bombs, but trade wars have real casualties," 6 July 2018 The move also would put U.S. exporters at risk, as other WTO members could raise tariffs on American imports. Toluse Olorunnipa,, "Trump Wants Better WTO Treatment, Adviser Hits Back at Critics," 30 June 2018 Trump is now threatening a 25 percent tariff on automotive imports. Detroit Free Press, "Donald Trump trade war threatens strong Detroit-Windsor ties," 22 June 2018 As the White House barrels toward $250 billion in tariffs on Chinese imports, US gadget makers are bracing for impact. Russell Brandom, The Verge, "Gadget makers are bracing for Trump’s trade war," 20 June 2018 President Trump’s latest threat of tariffs against China, on imports totaling roughly $200 billion, substantially raises the stakes for Beijing and could push the two countries’ trade war beyond the tit-for-tat duties seen so far. Jim Puzzanghera,, "After Trump's new tariff threat, China may either have to blink or widen the trade war," 11 July 2018 He's been particularly aggressive on imports from China. John Schmid, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Trump's global trade war expected to inflict economic causalities in Wisconsin and across nation," 10 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'import.' 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 import


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a


1548, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for import


Middle English, from Medieval Latin importare to bring in, cause, signify, from Latin, to bring in, cause, from in- + portare to carry — more at fare

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Statistics for import

Last Updated

19 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for import

The first known use of import was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for import



English Language Learners Definition of import

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to bring a product into a country to be sold

computers : to bring (something, such as data) into a file, system, etc., from another source



English Language Learners Definition of import (Entry 2 of 2)

: something that is imported : a product brought into a country to be sold there

: the act of importing something

: the meaning of something


im·​port | \ im-ˈpȯrt \
imported; importing

Kids Definition of import

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to bring (as goods) into a country usually for selling


im·​port | \ ˈim-ˌpȯrt \

Kids Definition of import (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : importance This is a problem of great import.
2 : something brought into a country My car is an import from Italy.

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