inference

noun

in·​fer·​ence ˈin-f(ə-)rən(t)s How to pronounce inference (audio)
-fərn(t)s
1
: something that is inferred
especially : a conclusion or opinion that is formed because of known facts or evidence
2
: the act or process of inferring (see infer): such as
a
: the act of passing from one proposition, statement, or judgment considered as true to another whose truth is believed to follow from that of the former
b
: the act of passing from statistical sample data to generalizations (as of the value of population parameters) usually with calculated degrees of certainty
3
: the premises and conclusion of a process of inferring

Examples of inference in a Sentence

In spite of the fact that there are virtually no controlled clinical trials examining the effects of obesity in people, we can make some inferences from animal research. Patrick Johnson, Skeptical Inquirer, September/October 2005
We cannot see a past event directly, but science is usually based on inference, not unvarnished observation (you don't see electrons, gravity, or black holes either). Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life, 1989
The writer of science fiction extends or projects or draws inferences from what is known and accepted. Karl Kroeber, Romantic Fantasy and Science Fiction, 1988
Its existence is only known by inference. The program uses records of past purchases to make inferences about what customers will buy in the future. What inference can we draw from these facts? See More
Recent Examples on the Web This query is your whisper, and this is where the inference process begins. Moran Zavdi, Forbes, 13 Feb. 2024 Google Cloud will now host the startup's open-source AI models and act as the preferred destination for Hugging Face training and inference workloads. Sage Lazzaro, Fortune, 25 Jan. 2024 An exotic data scientist excels at inference and gestalt. Sarah Davanzo, Rolling Stone, 12 Dec. 2023 Most edge chip designs today, like those found in smartphones, focus on the latter, known as inference. Paresh Dave, WIRED, 3 Dec. 2023 Logical thinking — drawing inferences — is the essence of the game. Frank Stewart, The Mercury News, 27 Jan. 2024 As usually happens when a defendant fails to testify at a civil trial (based on which omission, the jury is permitted to draw a negative inference — unlike in a criminal trial), Trump was found liable and directed to pay $5 million in damages. Andrew C. McCarthy, National Review, 15 Jan. 2024 What if any desktop PC could become an AI inference beast with a single upgrade? IEEE Spectrum, 9 Jan. 2024 Many LLMs require huge amounts of computing power, not just to train, but also for inference. Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, 2 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'inference.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

see infer

First Known Use

1594, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of inference was in 1594

Dictionary Entries Near inference

Cite this Entry

“Inference.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/inference. Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

inference

noun
in·​fer·​ence ˈin-f(ə-)rən(t)s How to pronounce inference (audio)
1
: the act or process of inferring
2
: something inferred

Legal Definition

inference

noun
in·​fer·​ence ˈin-fə-rəns How to pronounce inference (audio)
1
: the act or process of inferring
specifically : the act of passing from one proposition, statement, or judgment considered as true to another whose truth is believed to follow logically from that of the former
2
: something inferred
especially : a proposition arrived at by inference see also permissive presumption at presumption
3
: the premises and conclusions of a process of inferring

More from Merriam-Webster on inference

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