in·​form | \ in-ˈfȯrm How to pronounce inform (audio) \
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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Synonyms for inform


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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 See the latest on California’s coronavirus closures and reopenings, and the metrics that inform them, with our tracker. Amina Khan Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Coronavirus Today: The front-line workers turning down the vaccine," 5 Jan. 2021 But the data are incomplete and not enough to explain the spike in a way that would reliably inform possible policies to reverse it. Ramon Antonio Vargas,, "Killings and shootings soared in 2020, one of New Orleans' bloodiest years since Hurricane Katrina," 1 Jan. 2021 Doing so would add critical knowledge that could inform generations to come and give meaning to the lives lost. Kaiser Health News, oregonlive, "Coronavirus has killed more than 2,900 U.S. health care workers, analysis says," 26 Dec. 2020 Even outside of the writing of actual legislation, lawmakers come across information that could inform their investment decisions in hearings, or discussions with colleagues or lobbyists, said Cox. Anneken Tappe And Scott Bronstein, CNN, "When lawmakers buy and sell stocks, they're playing with fire," 16 Dec. 2020 These are the kind of details that could genuinely inform Tayshia’s romantic outlook on her contestants. Ariana Romero,, "The Bachelorette Finally Figured Out How To Use Nudity This Season," 2 Dec. 2020 Their most recent data is from 2019, but since the top names tend to stay pretty similar from year to year (with just a few changes), the 2019 list is likely to inform the 2021 list. Martha Sorren, Woman's Day, "100 Popular Baby Boy Names for 2021," 18 Dec. 2020 The House clerk then has 15 days to inform the states of the number of representatives to which each is entitled. Robert Barnes, Anchorage Daily News, "Supreme Court says challenge to Trump plan to exclude undocumented immigrants in census reapportionment must wait," 18 Dec. 2020 During that speech, Guthrie had to cut in to inform viewers that several of his statements were, frankly, not true. Michelle Ruiz, Vogue, "How Savannah Guthrie and Kristen Welker Won the 2020 Election Coverage," 17 Dec. 2020

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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Time Traveler for inform

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for inform

Last Updated

10 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Inform.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for inform


How to pronounce inform (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of inform

: to give information to (someone)
formal : to be or provide the essential quality of (something) : to be very noticeable in (something)


in·​form | \ in-ˈfȯrm How to pronounce inform (audio) \
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

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