in·form | \in-ˈfȯrm \
informed; informing; informs

Definition of inform 

transitive verb

1 : to communicate knowledge to inform a prisoner of his rights

2a : to give character or essence to the principles which inform modern teaching

b : to be the characteristic quality of : animate the compassion that informs her work

3 obsolete : to give material form to

4 obsolete : guide, direct

5 obsolete : to make known

intransitive verb

1 : to give information (as of another's wrongdoing) to an authority informed on a member of his own gang

2 : to impart information or knowledge

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Choose the Right Synonym for inform

inform, acquaint, apprise, notify mean to make one aware of something. inform implies the imparting of knowledge especially of facts or occurrences. informed us of the crisis acquaint lays stress on introducing to or familiarizing with. acquaint yourself with the keyboard apprise implies communicating something of special interest or importance. keep us apprised of the situation notify implies sending notice of something requiring attention or demanding action. notified the witness when to appear

Examples of inform in a Sentence

The book will entertain and inform you. The arresting officer failed to inform the suspect of his rights. He failed to inform the suspect that he had the right to remain silent. We haven't yet been informed of her decision. Frequent reports from the battlefield kept the general informed about how the attack was progressing. The book will both entertain and inform. His Catholic upbringing informs all his writing.
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Recent Examples on the Web

In a hearing over the matter on Tuesday, the DOJ informed the judge that, out of the 102 cases of younger children in its custody, not all can be currently be reunited with their families. Lisa Ryan, The Cut, "Trump Administration May Have Separated Family of U.S. Citizens for Up to a Year," 11 July 2018 How has working in the music business informed the story, if at all? Ray Rogers, Billboard, "Lava Records' CEO Jason Flom on His New Children's Book 'Lulu Is a Rhinoceros' & the Future of Rock 'n' Roll," 10 July 2018 Friday, Parker informed Popovich of his intent to sign with the Hornets. Jeff Mcdonald, San Antonio Express-News, "Parker stunner: Iconic Spurs point guard headed to Charlotte," 6 July 2018 When Howell temporarily escapes the confines of the tiny lighthouse to go fishing, Griffiths informs him that if he's spotted he'll be immediately canned. Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, "'The Lighthouse': Film Review," 4 July 2018 The transactions, some of which were disclosed in June, sparked criticism because Mr. Ross, as a high-ranking government official, could have access to inside information that would inform his trades. Dave Michaels, WSJ, "Wilbur Ross Sale to Cover Holdings Worth Potentially Tens of Millions," 13 July 2018 The people who are polled for their opinion have listened to computer rankings that have informed that opinion. Joan Niesen,, "The Computer Poll Uprising: Creators of the BCS's Most Controversial Component Look Back," 11 July 2018 Two days after surgery, I was informed by new ownership of the Miami Marlins that my contract would not be renewed. Matthew Defranks,, "Executive let go by new Marlins ownership starts campaign to help with health costs," 9 July 2018 See caregiving as a source of lessons that will inform the rest of your life. Barry J. Jacobs,, "What to do when caregiving finally ends," 6 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'inform.' 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 inform

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 3

History and Etymology for inform

Middle English, from Anglo-French enformer, from Latin informare, from in- + forma form

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Statistics for inform

Last Updated

11 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for inform

The first known use of inform was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for inform



English Language Learners Definition of inform

: to give information to (someone)

: to be or provide the essential quality of (something) : to be very noticeable in (something)


in·form | \in-ˈfȯrm \
informed; informing

Kids Definition of inform

1 : to let a person know something I informed him of the changes.

2 : to give information so as to accuse or cause suspicion He refused to inform on his friends.

Other Words from inform

informer noun

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Comments on inform

What made you want to look up inform? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one that holds something together

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