in·​fer·​ence | \ ˈin-f(ə-)rən(t)s How to pronounce inference (audio) , -fərn(t)s \

Definition of inference

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 The British tabloid MailOnline depends on Facebook for much of its traffic, for example, and any inference of a threat to its business from Facebook's No. 2 executive could have strongly influenced its decision not to run a story on either occasion. Fortune, 22 Apr. 2022 The approach is designed to be model-centric, which means everything is instrumented around the model, from deployment to governance to inference and monitoring to scale. Josh Elliot, Forbes, 21 Apr. 2021 Deripaska was previously sanctioned by the US in 2018 in response to Russian inference in the 2016 election. Travis Caldwell, CNN, 25 Mar. 2022 In CertusPro-NX, the FPGA solution is optimized for data inference workloads in both AI and ML applications. Patrick Moorhead, Forbes, 25 June 2021 The below table from NVIDIA compares the inference performance of Jetson AGX Xavier and Jetson AGX Orin. Janakiram Msv, Forbes, 27 Mar. 2022 Both will now need to develop an inference processing capability, which Graphcore began working on last year. Karl Freund, Forbes, 20 Jan. 2022 If 50% of the vice presidents are women yet only 10% of senior vice presidents are women, this evidence strongly supports an inference of discrimination. Eric Bachman, Forbes, 18 Jan. 2022 Given the familial relationship, Clark’s historically risky trading, and his significant assets, the court found that neither the trading nor the contemporaneous communications created an inference that Clark received insider information. Jamie Quinn, Fortune, 8 Feb. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'inference.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of inference

1594, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for inference

see infer

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Time Traveler for inference

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The first known use of inference was in 1594

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Last Updated

20 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Inference.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for inference


in·​fer·​ence | \ ˈin-fə-rəns How to pronounce inference (audio) \

Kids Definition of inference

1 : the act or process of reaching a conclusion about something from known facts
2 : a conclusion or opinion reached based on known facts


in·​fer·​ence | \ ˈin-fə-rəns How to pronounce inference (audio) \

Legal Definition of inference

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

Nglish: Translation of inference for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of inference for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about inference


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