in·​fra·​struc·​ture | \ ˈin-frə-ˌstrək-chər How to pronounce infrastructure (audio) , -(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 How to pronounce infrastructural (audio) , -​ˌstrək-​shrəl How to pronounce infrastructural (audio) , -​(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 Two years ago, legislators added oil and gas pipelines to the list of infrastructure deemed critical. Sara Sneath, ProPublica, "How Louisiana Lawmakers Stop Residents’ Efforts to Fight Big Oil and Gas," 7 Feb. 2020 Meanwhile, Sue Halpern, who has been sounding the alarm about the shoddy state of election infrastructure for years, broke down how this all came to be and what should be done about it. Eric Lach, The New Yorker, "On the Trail: Making Sense of the Mess in Iowa," 7 Feb. 2020 While large campaigns can afford their own tech teams, most candidates and pieces of the party infrastructure rely on outside vendors, who supply them with software. Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic, "Iowa’s Caucus Debacle Is More Than a Tech Problem," 4 Feb. 2020 Work on other pieces of the Russian lunar infrastructure hasn’t even gone beyond the drawing board. Anatoly Zak, Popular Mechanics, "Everything You Need To Know About Russia’s (Possibly Fictional) Super Heavy Rocket," 3 Feb. 2020 Using a disinformation campaign, coupled with the targeting of transportation infrastructure, hackers managed to bring an imaginary city to a standstill, sowing chaos and forcing officials to cancel the election altogether. Pete Gelling, Quartz, "Even the famously low-tech Iowa caucus is facing fears of election hacking," 2 Feb. 2020 Also, the problems in terms of irrigation infrastructure were a miss. Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz India, "From economy to climate change, IIM and ISB students find Budget 2020 woefully wanting," 2 Feb. 2020 Another scenario involved the federal government soliciting proposals for a massive infrastructure project. Kate Aronoff, The New Republic, "What the Green New Deal Could Mean for Iowa," 31 Jan. 2020 The last time the company provided estimates for the costs of infrastructure was in 2011 with the release of the Wardrop Report. Acacia Johnson, National Geographic, "The risky plan to haul minerals from a mine in the Alaska wilderness," 14 Jan. 2020

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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Time Traveler for infrastructure

Time Traveler

The first known use of infrastructure was in 1927

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Statistics for infrastructure

Last Updated

14 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Infrastructure.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for infrastructure


How to pronounce infrastructure (audio)

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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