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 import (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 Under the terms of the joint venture, Shenghe and CNNC would import rare earths containing uranium and thorium from Kvanefjeld to China. Mary Hui, Quartz, "A Chinese rare earths giant is building international alliances worldwide," 19 Feb. 2021 Once your new email is up and running, import those old contacts and send them an introductory email alerting them about the change. Dan Seitz, Popular Science, "How to delete your old email address without losing everything," 18 Feb. 2021 The intention was to enable Iranian companies that import essential products not available in the country – including medicine, electronics and wheat -- to have access to the subsidized exchange rate. Hollie Mckay, Fox News, "How Iran's central bank currency system is manipulated to fund regional proxy wars," 25 Dec. 2020 That provision of the Dodd-Frank Act has created headaches for companies that import gold. Washington Post, "Apple is lobbying against a bill aimed at stopping forced labor in China," 20 Nov. 2020 The central bank has introduced new regulations limiting access to foreign exchange, including barring firms from using third parties and agents to import goods. Tope Alake,, "Nigeria Regulator Dollar Sales Fails to Stop Naira Weakening," 13 Nov. 2020 During the first week of 2021, the U.S. didn’t import any oil from Saudi Arabia — something that hadn’t happened in nearly four decades. USA Today, "Biden’s administration could affect Oklahoma’s energy industry in surprising ways," 18 Jan. 2021 The labor-rights watchdog Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) estimates US brands and retailers import more than 1.5 billion garments containing materials from Xinjiang annually, representing more than $20 billion in retail sales. Marc Bain, Quartz, "The US is intensifying its crackdown on forced labor in China’s Xinjiang region," 13 Jan. 2021 To repeat: The company does not import pork from China. Washington Post, "Activist posing as Smithfield CEO hoaxes Fox’s Maria Bartiromo," 23 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun His father ran an import-export business, and his family was part of the city’s sizable Jewish middle class. New York Times, "Shlomo Hillel, Who Helped 120,000 Jews Flee Iraq, Dies at 97," 21 Feb. 2021 These statistics don’t exactly measure what Americans eat; the USDA’s Economic Research Service uses agricultural production and import/export data to calculate how much food is out there to be consumed. oregonlive, "Iceberg lettuce’s domination is melting away before romaine, kale, other greens," 27 Oct. 2020 The import-dependent Caribbean nation has slashed purchases abroad by more than 30%, experts say. Marc Frank And Anett Rios, The Christian Science Monitor, "In Cuba, both entrepreneurs and government get creative," 30 Sep. 2020 This European ritual experienced a full-force revival in the U.S. in recent years, all thanks to a single Italian import: Aperol. Esther Mobley, San Francisco Chronicle, "Move over, Aperol spritz: Sunny, breezy California aperitifs are the chic Millennial's new drink of choice," 5 Feb. 2021 This German import has become a cult hit through word of mouth on Netflix for a good reason. Brian Tallerico, Vulture, "The 100 Best TV Shows on Netflix Right Now," 1 Feb. 2021 Trade tensions between Australia and China continue to escalate, with the Aussies prepared to take action through the World Trade Organization over barley import tariffs imposed by China. Rey Mashayekhi, Fortune, "A morose Monday can’t mess up the markets’ magnificent November," 1 Dec. 2020 Netflix, whose first exclusive offering, in 2012, was the bilingual Norwegian import Lilyhammer, is currently available in more than 190 countries. Judy Berman, Time, "The Best Result of the Streaming Boom? America Finally Loves Foreign-Language TV," 22 Jan. 2021 And the most popular lamp right now, the mushroom lamp, is a direct design import from that era. Sadhbh O'sullivan,, "’70s Homeware Was Loud, Eclectic & Optimistic. No Wonder It’s Back," 21 Jan. 2021

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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Learn More about import

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

28 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Import.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

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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
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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