verb (inferred; inferring) Etymology: Middle French or Latin; Middle French inferer, from Latin inferre, literally, to carry or bring into, from in- + ferre to carry — more at bear Date: 1528 transitive verb 1. to derive as a conclusion from facts or premises <
we see smoke and infer fire — L. A. White
— compare imply 2. guess, surmise <
your letter…allows me to infer that you are as well as ever — O. W. Holmes †1935
3. a. to involve as a normal outcome of thought b. to point out ; indicate <
this doth infer the zeal I had to see him — Shakespeare
another survey…infers that two-thirds of all present computer installations are not paying for themselves — H. R. Chellman
4. suggest, hint <
are you inferring I'm incompetent?
intransitive verb to draw inferences <
men…have observed, inferred, and reasoned…to all kinds of results — John Dewey
inferable also inferrible adjectiveinferrer noun Synonyms: infer, deduce, conclude, judge, gather mean to arrive at a mental conclusion. infer implies arriving at a conclusion by reasoning from evidence; if the evidence is slight, the term comes close to surmise <
from that remark, I inferred that they knew each other
. deduce often adds to infer the special implication of drawing a particular inference from a generalization <
denied we could deduce anything important from human mortality
. conclude implies arriving at a necessary inference at the end of a chain of reasoning <
concluded that only the accused could be guilty
. judge stresses a weighing of the evidence on which a conclusion is based <
judge people by their actions
. gather suggests an intuitive forming of a conclusion from implications <
gathered their desire to be alone without a word
. Usage: Sir Thomas More is the first writer known to have used both infer and imply in their approved senses (1528). He is also the first to have used infer in a sense close in meaning to imply (1533). Both of these uses of infer coexisted without comment until some time around the end of World War I. Since then, senses 3 and 4 of infer have been frequently condemned as an undesirable blurring of a useful distinction. The actual blurring has been done by the commentators. Sense 3, descended from More's use of 1533, does not occur with a personal subject. When objections arose, they were to a use with a personal subject (now sense 4). Since dictionaries did not recognize this use specifically, the objectors assumed that sense 3 was the one they found illogical, even though it had been in respectable use for four centuries. The actual usage condemned was a spoken one never used in logical discourse. At present sense 4 is found in print chiefly in letters to the editor and other informal prose, not in serious intellectual writing. The controversy over sense 4 has apparently reduced the frequency of use of sense 3.

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • infer — infer, imply 1. The only point noted by Fowler (1926) was that the inflected forms of infer are inferred and inferring, and this is thankfully still true (but note inferable or inferrable, with one r or two, and inference with only one r). Fowler …   Modern English usage

  • Infer — In*fer , v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Inferred}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Inferring}.] [L. inferre to bring into, bring forward, occasion, infer; pref. in in + ferre to carry, bring: cf. F. inf[ e]rer. See 1 st {Bear}.] [1913 Webster] 1. To bring on; to induce;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • infer — in·fer /in fər/ vb in·ferred, in·fer·ring vt: to derive as a conclusion from facts or premises could infer acceptance of the offer from the offeree s response vi: to draw inferences in·fer·able also in·fer·ri·ble /in fər ə bəl/ adj …   Law dictionary

  • infer — [in fʉr′] vt. inferred, inferring [L inferre, to bring or carry in, infer < in , in + ferre, to carry, BEAR1] 1. Obs. to bring on or about; cause; induce 2. to conclude or decide from something known or assumed; derive by reasoning; draw as a… …   English World dictionary

  • infer — infer, deduce, conclude, judge, gather are comparable when they mean to arrive at by reasoning from evidence or from premises. All except gather are so clearly differentiated in logical use that these distinctions tend to be retained in general… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • infer — (v.) 1520s, from L. inferre bring into, carry in; deduce, infer, conclude, draw an inference; bring against, from in in (see IN (Cf. in ) (2)) + ferre carry, bear, from PIE *bher (1) to bear, to carry, to take (Cf. Skt. bharati carries; Avestan… …   Etymology dictionary

  • infer — ► VERB (inferred, inferring) ▪ deduce from evidence and reasoning rather than from explicit statements. DERIVATIVES inferable (also inferrable) adjective. USAGE On the use of imply and infer, see the note at …   English terms dictionary

  • infer — adj. inv. (despre ovar) situat dedesubtul punctelor de inserţie ale sepalelor, petalelor sau staminelor. (< fr. infère, lat. inferus) Trimis de raduborza, 15.09.2007. Sursa: MDN …   Dicționar Român

  • infer — ìnfer m DEFINICIJA reg. željezna rešetka na prozoru ETIMOLOGIJA tal. inferriata …   Hrvatski jezični portal

  • infer — [v] conclude arrive at, ascertain, assume, believe, collect, conjecture, construe, deduce, derive, draw, draw inference, figure, figure out, gather, glean, guess, induce, interpret, intuit, judge, presume, presuppose, reach conclusion, read… …   New thesaurus

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