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

In 1886, the plaintiffs (Nix) imported some tomatoes from the West Indies. Willi Evans Galloway, Good Housekeeping, "Are Tomatoes Fruits or Vegetables? Actually, They're Both," 12 June 2018 And there’s a dearth of black and brown people in the industry’s money-making roles of importing, exporting, roasting and distribution, according to Konte. Otis R. Taylor Jr., San Francisco Chronicle, "Oakland coffee roaster brews inclusivity," 28 May 2018 The home comes with a new steam shower and handmade glass tiles imported from England. Catherine Reagor, azcentral, "Luxury homes: Former Phoenix Sun Jeff Hornacek sells Paradise Valley home," 14 May 2018 By the 1580s, cacao was being regularly imported into Spain and spread to other European countries with milk being added along the way. Candice Choi, The Seattle Times, "How old is cacao? New research pushes back date," 31 Oct. 2018 Vikings razed most of the forests a thousand years ago—so all wood has to be imported. Kathleen Renda, House Beautiful, "This Icelandic Apartment Is Filled With Small-Space Inspiration," 16 Aug. 2018 The United States has imported more than 1,000 pounds of Venezuelan crab meat so far this year, fourth-most from any country after Indonesia, China and the Philippines, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service. Scott Dance,, "Marylanders warned to avoid Venezuelan crab meat after nine sickened by Vibrio bacteria," 7 July 2018 In 2015, China imported nearly 60 percent of all plastic scrap around the globe; 31 percent of all nonferrous metal scrap (metal that was neither iron nor steel); and 51 percent of all paper scrap, according Global Trade Magazine. Author: David Goldstein, Anchorage Daily News, "Cities scramble to rewrite rules on recycling after China restricts ‘foreign garbage’," 3 July 2018 Europe could cave In 2017, the U.S. imported about 1.26 million vehicles annually from Europe, according to LMC. Nathan Bomey, USA TODAY, "Trump tariffs could add $5,000 to price of new vehicle in U.S.," 3 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Any steep reduction, or outright suspension, of U.S. film imports could easily push China's annual box office growth into the red while also hurting local distributors and exhibitors, many of which are still aggressively expanding. Patrick Brzeski, The Hollywood Reporter, "Will Hollywood Get Caught in Trump's China Trade War Crossfire?," 13 July 2018 Beijing responded by imposing similar duties on the same amount of U.S. imports. Yanan Wang,, "Emanuel, hoping to lock in Chicago rail car factory, meets Chinese VP amid trade dispute," 12 July 2018 If all are approved, that would boost costs for about half of U.S. imports from China, Biswas said. Joseph N. Distefano,, "New Trump import fees: How will China fight back?," 11 July 2018 Both automakers announced price cuts in China only weeks ago, making their Lincoln and Model S sedans more affordable for consumers after China lowered tariffs on all foreign vehicle imports to 15%. Bloomberg, Fortune, "Trump's Trade War Has Its First Victims in the U.S. and China. Here's Who They Are," 9 July 2018 But its lopsided trade balance means China will run out of imports for punitive duties before Washington does. San Antonio Express-News, "China’s options to hit US go beyond imports," 9 July 2018 Castellanos said the port has an imbalance of more imports than exports because there has not been a steady ocean liner coming each month. Phillip Molnar,, "Port of San Diego lands large liner contract," 9 July 2018 Forecasters say global economic growth could be reduced by up to 0.5 percentage points in 2019-20 if both sides wind up raising tariffs on $250 billion of imports. CBS News, "As U.S. tariffs take effect, China says it will retaliate," 6 July 2018 On July 6th, after The Economist went to press, America was due to impose its first major set of tariffs on China: 25% duties on $34bn-worth of imports, notably machinery and electronic parts. The Economist, "As its trade tussle with America heats up, China is on the back foot," 5 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

7 Dec 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

What made you want to look up import? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a nest or breeding place

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