in·​fra·​struc·​ture | \ˈin-frə-ˌstrək-chər, -(ˌ)frä-\

Definition of infrastructure 

1 : the system of public works of a country, state, or region also : the resources (such as personnel, buildings, or equipment) required for an activity

2 : the underlying foundation or basic framework (as of a system or organization)

3 : the permanent installations required for military purposes

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Other Words from infrastructure

infrastructural \ˈin-​frə-​ˌstrək-​chə-​rəl, -​ˌstrək-​shrəl, -​(ˌ)frä-​ \ adjective

Did You Know?

Infra- means "below;" so the infrastructure is the "underlying structure" of a country and its economy, the fixed installations that it needs in order to function. These include roads, bridges, dams, the water and sewer systems, railways and subways, airports, and harbors. These are generally government-built and publicly owned. Some people also speak about such things as the intellectual infrastructure or the infrastructure of science research, but the meaning of such notions can be extremely vague.

Examples of infrastructure in a Sentence

More money is needed to save the crumbling infrastructure of the nation's rural areas. We need to spend more money on maintaining and repairing infrastructure.

Recent Examples on the Web

The State Department was to have spent the money on building up the country's infrastructure, including power, water and roads. Andrew O'reilly, Fox News, "White House: US mission in Syria coming to 'rapid end'," 2 Oct. 2018 China is a close ally of Cambodia, and has invested billions in infrastructure, development, military support and aid. Abby Seiff / Phnom Penh, Time, "Chinese State-Linked Hackers in Large Scale Operation to Monitor Cambodia's Upcoming Elections, Report Says," 11 July 2018 The city’s Department of Water and Power blamed aging infrastructure, rather than a lack of electricity., "Today: ‘Incredibly Qualified’ or ‘Conservative Ideologue’?," 10 July 2018 Tackling the opioid crisis and addressing infrastructure, education and affordable housing are among McKinlay’s top priorities in her next term. Austen Erblat,, "Palm Beach County Mayor Melissa McKinlay re-elected after running unopposed," 6 July 2018 That agenda is massive: ending corruption, rebuilding and upgrading infrastructure, and strengthening the social safety net for Mexico’s poor youth and senior citizens, among other noble goals. Jonah Shepp, Daily Intelligencer, "AMLO Isn’t Mexico’s Trump – Nor Is He Trump’s Natural Enemy," 5 July 2018 Women’s Strength Coalition believes that access to fitness infrastructure, health education, and mental health care are limited for those that would benefit from them the most. SELF, "8 Influencers Making the Wellness World More Inclusive," 7 Nov. 2018 We’re done with phase one, which is developing indicators for the environment, infrastructure, economy, and society, and the tourist experience. Katherine Lagrave, Condé Nast Traveler, "Iceland Is Not Overrun With Tourists, Despite What Everyone Says," 25 Oct. 2018 Moving that manufacturing infrastructure would be costly. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "Trump renews call for Apple to make its products in the US," 8 Sep. 2018

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

1927, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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Last Updated

5 Dec 2018

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The first known use of infrastructure was in 1927

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English Language Learners Definition of infrastructure

: the basic equipment and structures (such as roads and bridges) that are needed for a country, region, or organization to function properly

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Comments on infrastructure

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


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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