in·​form in-ˈfȯrm How to pronounce inform (audio)
informed; informing; informs

transitive verb

: to communicate knowledge to
inform a prisoner of his rights
: to give character or essence to
the principles which inform modern teaching
: to be the characteristic quality of : animate
the compassion that informs her work
obsolete : to give material form to
obsolete : guide, direct
obsolete : to make known

intransitive verb

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

Example Sentences

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web The conflict transcends science to deeply held personal values that inform policy decisions. Zaz Hollander, Anchorage Daily News, 23 Nov. 2022 Page, who previously ran HGTV and Food Network, says the idea has always been to use the journal to inform programming decisions at Magnolia Network. Jennifer Maas, Variety, 22 Nov. 2022 At Aya, employees generate ideas that inform everything from benefits to charitable giving to observed holidays. Roxana Popescu, San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 Nov. 2022 City agencies use automation to screen housing applicants, predict criminal recidivism, identify food assistance fraud, determine if a high schooler is likely to drop out, inform sentencing decisions for young people, and many other things. WIRED, 3 Nov. 2022 The mesonet data will also be made public for use in applications that could help inform decisions by Maryland school systems, farmers, fishermen, environmental agencies, wind and solar energy producers and the transportation industry. Scott Dance, Washington Post, 24 Oct. 2022 This research reflects the critical importance of gathering long-term population data, which can give scientists a more accurate picture to inform conservation decisions, such as how best to manage krill fisheries. Sarah Kuta, Smithsonian Magazine, 13 Oct. 2022 Meaningful insights resulting from merging organizational context, detection and threat intelligence will inform better decisions; that means overcoming the current convention of managing disparate data from multiple sources and consoles. Martin Roesch, Forbes, 11 Oct. 2022 Robinson Peete recounts the number of conversations she's had with mothers to inform them about the severity of airborne peanut allergies. Yolanda Baruch, Forbes, 10 Nov. 2022 See More

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.

Word History


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

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near inform

Cite this Entry

“Inform.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition



in·​form in-ˈfȯ(ə)rm How to pronounce inform (audio)
: to let a person know something : tell
: to give information so as to accuse or cause suspicion
inform against them to the police

More from Merriam-Webster on inform

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