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

Israel has largely stayed out of Syria’s civil war but has carried on a shadow war in Syria with Iran, which has taken advantage of the chaos to build a military infrastructure in Syria. New York Times, "Netanyahu Says Putin Agreed to Restrain Iran in Syria," 12 July 2018 But first, software developers and architects have to build the infrastructure. Rebecca Lurye,, "Meet The Chinese Media Tycoon Behind West Hartford's Tech Hub," 4 July 2018 Some of those lakes have docks, but no other infrastructure. Michelle Theriault Boots, Anchorage Daily News, "Feel like a swim? Here’s the lowdown on Anchorage lakes," 4 July 2018 Rosedale told Fortune that High Fidelity is building blockchain infrastructure to support a billion VR users, and has already created a native cryptocurrency and digital-asset registry. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, "High Fidelity Raises $35 Million For Blockchain VR Venture," 28 June 2018 That work, along with putting in utilities, streets and other infrastructure, will take about 18 months. J.k. Dineen,, "Building paused as questions linger over contamination at SF’s Hunters Point," 28 June 2018 The Irish were lured to the U.S. by a local meat packer, Kingan & Co., or came here to help build Indianapolis' infrastructure. Dawn Mitchell, Indianapolis Star, "Early immigrants to Indianapolis and their hard-won path to citizenship," 22 June 2018 Another aim is to mobilize Russia's oligarchic capitalists to build public infrastructure, saddling them with Kremlin oversight. Fred Weir, The Christian Science Monitor, "As World Cup kicks off, Russia aims to prove a world-class host again," 13 June 2018 That growth has brought significant challenges, like building out the city’s transportation infrastructure and coping with skyrocketing housing costs. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Toronto’s new wave of development looks for community, not just condos," 12 June 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

12 Sep 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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