im·​port | \ im-ˈpȯrt How to pronounce import (audio) , ˈim-ˌpȯrt How to pronounce import (audio) \
imported; importing; imports

Definition of import

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : 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
2a : to bear or convey as meaning or portent : signify
b : imply
c archaic : express, state
3 archaic : to be of importance to : concern

intransitive verb

: to be of consequence : matter


im·​port | \ ˈim-ˌpȯrt How to pronounce import (audio) \

Definition of import (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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Other Words from import


importable \ im-​ˈpȯr-​tə-​bəl How to pronounce importable (audio) , ˈim-​ˌpȯr-​ \ adjective
importer noun

Examples of import in a Sentence

Verb a dealer who imports cars from Italy to the U.S. software that makes it simple to import digital photographs onto your hard drive Noun 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 The survey found: • 82% said Utah should be allowed to import drugs from other countries if they can be purchased safely and less expensively. Bryan Schott, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Older Utah voters are worried about healthcare and prescription drug costs, survey shows," 9 Oct. 2020 But the Royal Scots College had special authorization to import whatever books its staff wanted, notes BBC News. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, "Rare Edition of Shakespeare’s Last Play Found in Spanish Library," 25 Sep. 2020 Along with ordering 3M to import 166.5 million masks from China, the administration has used the DPA to invest $296.9 million in bolstering the N95 and filter-making supply chains. Washington Post, "The N95 shortage America can’t seem to fix," 21 Sep. 2020 Along with ordering 3M to import 166.5 million masks from China, the administration has used the DPA to invest $296.9 million in bolstering the N95 and filter-making supply chains. Jessica Contrera, Anchorage Daily News, "N95 masks save lives. So why are they still hard to get this far into a pandemic?," 21 Sep. 2020 Prosecutors said the men used a San Francisco plastics importer, Pacific Rim Traders, to import large amounts of plastics from its parent company in China that was used to make bottles and other products. Bob Egelko,, "5 men accused of shipping used tires overseas in Bay Area tariff scam — $40 million fraud," 25 Aug. 2020 Mercury levels in pilot whales are so elevated that scientists have advised the Faroese to drastically reduce their consumption of whale meat, which might in turn force them to import farmed protein from elsewhere, increasing their carbon impact. Amia Srinivasan, The New Yorker, "What Have We Done to the Whale?," 17 Aug. 2020 James’ company does not appear to import these products from China. Clara Hendrickson, Detroit Free Press, "Mich. Democrats say John James' tough talk on China is hypocritical. Here’s what’s true.," 7 Aug. 2020 China is expected to import 1.2 billion tons of iron ore this year, 1.3 billion in 2021 and 1.4 billion in 2022. Krystal Chia,, "Top Iron Ore Shipper Says Rally May Cool as Risks Lie in China," 27 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Courthouses and much of what goes on in them shut down abruptly, along with nearly everything else, in mid-March as the broader public suddenly understood the danger and import of the coronavirus pandemic. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Some court proceedings move to Zoofari Conference Center amid ongoing COVID-19 concerns," 6 Oct. 2020 The new law bans the import, export and sale of shark fins but includes exceptions for people who already had federal shark fishing permits as of Jan. 1 and seafood dealers who had federal shark dealer permits. Jim Turner,, "A slew of 24 new Florida laws kicks in on Thursday," 28 Sep. 2020 So if space and convenience are of big import, this might not be your first choice. Lesley Kennedy, CNN Underscored, "The best single-serve coffee makers of 2020," 25 Sep. 2020 The entity is working to create a global import and export hub on a large chunk of land in Salt Lake City’s northwest side. Taylor Stevens, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Utah inland port project continues to move forward after a ‘busy, busy’ summer and amid public disapproval," 17 Sep. 2020 The trial will be filmed for posterity, a rarity in France reserved for proceedings of historical import. Star Tribune, "French paper attacked in 2015 reprints Muhammad caricatures," 1 Sep. 2020 No one foresaw the rapid expansion of data science as a field, in which new methods and tools could be deployed to quickly answer questions of national import, and privacy-preserving techniques can protect individual’s data. Julia Lane, Scientific American, "The U.S. Needs a National Data Service," 26 Aug. 2020 Iran is struggling to parry the impact of the virus while laboring under a tough U.S. sanctions regime that has slashed oil revenue and complicated the import of some medical supplies. Patrick Sykes,, "Iran Health Minister Says Cash Promised for Covid Hasn’t Arrived," 23 Sep. 2020 The latest move will block the import of goods made by several entities located in Xinjiang and one company based in China’s Anhui province. Washington Post, "U.S. blocks import of Chinese goods it says are made with forced labor," 14 Sep. 2020

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 2a


1548, in the meaning defined at sense 3

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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Time Traveler for import

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for import

Last Updated

13 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Import.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for import


How to pronounce import (audio) How to pronounce import (audio)

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


How to pronounce import (audio)

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
formal : the meaning of something


im·​port | \ im-ˈpȯrt How to pronounce import (audio) \
imported; importing

Kids Definition of import

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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


im·​port | \ ˈim-ˌpȯrt How to pronounce import (audio) \

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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