inference

noun in·fer·ence \ ˈin-f(ə-)rən(t)s , -fərn(t)s \

Definition of inference

1 :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
2 :something that is inferred; especially :a conclusion or opinion that is formed because of known facts or evidence
3 :the premises and conclusion of a process of inferring

Examples of inference in a Sentence

  1. 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 JohnsonSkeptical InquirerSeptember/October 2005
  2. 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 GouldWonderful Life1989
  3. The writer of science fiction extends or projects or draws inferences from what is known and accepted. —Karl KroeberRomantic Fantasy and Science Fiction1988
  4. Its existence is only known by inference.

  5. The program uses records of past purchases to make inferences about what customers will buy in the future.

  6. What inference can we draw from these facts?

Recent Examples of inference from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of inference

see infer


INFERENCE Defined for English Language Learners

inference

noun

Definition of inference for English Language Learners

  • : the act or process of reaching a conclusion about something from known facts or evidence

  • : a conclusion or opinion that is formed because of known facts or evidence


INFERENCE Defined for Kids

inference

noun in·fer·ence \ ˈin-fə-rəns \

Definition of inference for Students

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

Law Dictionary

inference

noun in·fer·ence \ ˈin-fə-rəns \

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


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