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


fink, grass (on) [British slang], rat (on), sing, snitch, split (on) [British], squeak, squeal, talk, tell (on)

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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

David says the modelling results will be useful in informing plans such as India’s recently launched National Clean Air Programme that primarily targets particulate matter pollution. Sahana Ghosh, Quartz India, "India’s noxious emissions are messing up neighbours’ air, too," 8 Sep. 2019 And in one or two harrowing moments, the film communicates the way Stevenson's up-close interaction with the institution of capital punishment informed his work. John Defore, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Just Mercy': Film Review | TIFF 2019," 7 Sep. 2019 A few hours after Solis informed Caldero about the contribution, an FBI surveillance team saw the alderman and Caldero enter the massage parlor together. Jason Meisner,, "Ethics board levels $25K fine on political consultant recorded allegedly arranging Viagra, sexual services for disgraced former Chicago alderman," 17 Sep. 2019 After the film aired on Afghan television, Mullah Tur Jan was murdered, and an acquaintance informed Fazili that a bounty had been placed on his head. Doreen St. Félix, The New Yorker, "“Midnight Traveler” Expands the Narrative of the Refugee Documentary," 17 Sep. 2019 Ehrmantraut locates Ziegler at a resort and is taking him back to the lab when an angered Fring informs his fixer over the phone that the foreman must be disposed of. Greg Braxton, Los Angeles Times, "Win or lose, Jonathan Banks is amped for the Emmys: ‘Hell, it’s a great meal’," 17 Sep. 2019 Historians’ perspectives on how the past informs the present S. Deborah Kang is an associate professor at California State University San Marcos and the author of The INS on the Line: Making Immigration Law on the US-Mexico Border, 1917-1954. S. Deborah Kang, Time, "The History of Citizenship Day Is a Reminder That Being an American Has Always Been Complicated," 17 Sep. 2019 The Judiciary hearings set to begin this week and the committee’s ongoing investigative efforts will inform the committee’s decision whether or not to recommend articles of impeachment to the full House. Osita Nwanevu, The New Republic, "Schrödinger’s Impeachment," 16 Sep. 2019 All of this research helped Doriot’s team understand how layers worked to trap air and prevent the loss of body heat, and these insights informed the design of the M-43. Rachel S. Gross, The Atlantic, "The Military Origins of Layering," 15 Sep. 2019

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 2019

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)
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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More from Merriam-Webster on inform

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with inform

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for inform

Spanish Central: Translation of inform

Nglish: Translation of inform for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of inform for Arabic Speakers

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).


to be made up of

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