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

China recently stopped importing recyclables, leaving countries like the United States scrambling to find a home for their recyclables. Steve Harrison, charlotteobserver, "Charlotte's recycling 'is broken.' Could your plastic, paper be headed for a landfill?," 2 July 2018 Choose playlists, albums, an entire artist's archive, or individual songs to import onto the watch, and within minutes, the songs transfer to the device and are ready for playback. Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica, "Garmin’s new Vivoactive 3 Music is the best competitor to the Apple Watch," 13 June 2018 The Dyngus Day celebration was imported to Cleveland from Buffalo eight years ago. Lisa Dejong,, "Cleveland Dyngus Day 2018 (photos)," 3 Apr. 2018 Each year about 10 million tropical fish are imported into the U.S., more than to any other country. National Geographic, "See How Fish Get From Coral Reefs to Your Aquarium Tank," 29 Mar. 2018 American colonists in the 18th century did indeed resent tariffs imposed by the British government on goods imported into the colonies, and their anger over taxes and tariffs incited a rebellion. WSJ, "Tariffs Helped the U.S. Economy Find Its Legs," 13 July 2018 So said Cecilia Malmström, the European Union’s trade commissioner, on news that Harley-Davidson plans to move some production out of America to avoid tariffs imposed by the EU on motorcycles imported from America. The Economist, "Harley-Davidson shifts some production out of America," 28 June 2018 Those costs are tied to a shortage of labor, as well as the impact of tariffs on lumber imported from Canada imposed by President Donald Trump, Newell said Thursday. Tom Daykin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Delayed library/apartment development on Milwaukee's northwest side getting more time," 28 June 2018 Photo: Malissa Mabey courtesy of Victory Ranch Utah Near Park City, this home comes with a private fishing pond and a greenhouse imported from England. Wsj Real Estate, WSJ, "Michael Cohen Purchases New York City Apartment for $6.7 Million," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Of all the frozen tilapia the United States imports, roughly 83 percent comes from China. Anchorage Daily News, "A new round of proposed Trump tariffs would hit US consumers," 12 July 2018 The consequence of taxing imports can be losing exports, too, as other countries retaliate. Tony Abbott, WSJ, "An Ally Sizes Up Donald Trump," 13 July 2018 Chinese imports potentially subject to Trump's latest tariffs range from baseball gloves to seafood to oxygen to raincoats. Paul Davidson, USA TODAY, "Trade wars are damaging, so why is Trump fighting one with China?," 13 July 2018 For workers, more pain may be coming, as economists are concerned that prices could rise further due to President Trumps tariffs on many foreign imports. Heather Long,, "Inflation hits 6-year high, wiping out wage gains for the average American," 13 July 2018 Full-size pickups like the Ford F-150 — America’s bestselling vehicle for 36 years — Chevy Silverado, Ram 1500, Nissan Titan and Toyota Tundra would be safe from imports, at least initially. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, "Trump's trade war could threaten US pickup production and jobs," 13 July 2018 The company filed for a two-year exemption last month and sent postcards to Trump, Gov. Greg Abbott and other high-level officials explaining that company faced substantially higher import costs as a result of the steel tariffs. Katherine Blunt, Houston Chronicle, "Baytown steel plant denied steel tariff exemption," 12 July 2018 But American consumers might not have much choice but to pay them: For nearly $100 billion of the products targeted, Panjiva estimates, China supplies more than half of the imports that Americans buy. New York Times, "Trade War With China in Aisle 12," 12 July 2018 As a result, American oil imports could drop as low as 1.6 million barrels a day, which would be the lowest level since 1958. Lucas Laursen, Fortune, "The U.S. Could Soon Reclaim the World's Oil Crown," 12 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

12 Oct 2018

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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Comments on import

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