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

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 How to pronounce import (audio) \

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 How to pronounce importable (audio) , 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’s 2018 ban on importing plastic waste has created a crisis, Some exports have shifted to other countries, while hundreds of thousands of tons are piling up at municipalities across Japan. Simon Denyer,, "Japan wraps everything in plastic. Now it wants to fight against plastic pollution.," 18 June 2019 Those tariffs applied to about $14 billion in products imported by outdoor recreation companies from China. Judith Kohler, The Denver Post, "Outdoor recreation industry faces ballooning costs if new tariffs are slapped on, analysis shows," 18 June 2019 Amid a global movement against non-recyclable plastic, Asian countries are closing their doors to imported waste from other nations., "Today: To Build or Not to Build in Wildfire Zones?," 18 June 2019 The prospect of an escalation of tariffs, which would boost the price of imports ranging from retail items to industrial electronic components, has drawn condemnation from U.S. trade groups that import goods from China. Josh Zumbrun, WSJ, "Trump, Xi to Have ‘Extended Meeting’ on Trade at G-20 Summit in Japan," 18 June 2019 And, says Mr Castilloux, the industry is small enough for China to be able to spot any American attempts to skirt a Chinese ban by importing magnets through other countries. The Economist, "Rare earths give China leverage in the trade war, at a cost," 15 June 2019 Trump has deployed that provision to tax imported steel and aluminum. Time, "'It's Bad News For the Free Market.' U.S. Businesses Are Spooked by President Trump's Trade Policies," 12 June 2019 In early May, the U.S. ramped up economic pressure against Iran, threatening sanctions against any country that imports Iranian oil. Dan De Luce, NBC News, "Iran says it will release U.S. permanent resident Nizar Zakka," 11 June 2019 In that matter of switching the fork to the right hand, the American method is the more traditional one, imported when it was still practiced in Europe, but later abandoned there in the interest of speed. Judith Martin, The Mercury News, "Miss Manners: Now that I’m rich, I need to know how rich people talk," 11 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

More recently, Trump threatened to impose stiff tariffs on all imports if Mexico didn’t halt the growing number of Central Americans crossing its territory to reach the United States. Washington Post, "Mexico becomes first country to ratify USMCA North American trade deal," 20 June 2019 The import of Spanish victories in and around St. Augustine was often their problematic but existing inclusion of diverse ethno-racial groups. Imani J. Jackson, Essence, "U.N. Recognizes Fort Mose, Free Black Town Established 127 Years Before Juneteenth," 19 June 2019 Bans on the import of pigs and pork are another tactic. The Economist, "African swine fever spreads to South-East Asia," 19 June 2019 The Trump administration placed a 25% tariff on steel imports in 2018. Chris Isidore, CNN, "US Steel is idling plants, despite tariffs designed to save them," 19 June 2019 Hocca also has friendly servers, Brazilian imports themselves, my waiter – a stellar steward and rep for his brand – reported. Amy Drew Thompson,, "Hocca, at the Florida Mall, is full of (hot, Brazilian) bologna | Review," 19 June 2019 The 2000s had Skins, Jamie Brittain’s entertainingly disaffected British import about pill-popping, bed-hopping high-schoolers. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "Euphoria’s Familiar Moral Panic," 19 June 2019 There were Tom Petty and the Cars in ’77, Molly Hatchet in ’78, the fresh imports of Def Leppard and Loverboy in ’80. Brian Mccollum, Detroit Free Press, "Bob Seger takes a personal approach with his concert openers — for the good of all involved," 19 June 2019 The label correctly identifies the three Jews who are mocked in a kind of doodle drawn in ink at the top, and rightly notes its anti-Jewish import. Sara Lipton, The New York Review of Books, "A Terribly Durable Myth," 17 June 2019

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

22 Jun 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
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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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).


to take the place or position of

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