Meaning of infer in English:


Pronunciation /ɪnˈfəː/

See synonyms for infer

Translate infer into Spanish

verbverb infers, verb inferring, verb inferred

[with object]
  • Deduce or conclude (something) from evidence and reasoning rather than from explicit statements.

    ‘it is possible to infer a trend from the figures’
    • ‘from these facts we can infer that crime has been increasing’
    • ‘A reasonable person would not infer guilt from the fact of a police inquiry.’
    • ‘By carefully measuring the spin of the outer electron, it will be possible to infer the spin of the nucleus.’
    • ‘The street was not identified, although it is possible to infer the number of the house from the photograph.’
    • ‘There are two types of error that can be made when inferring statistical significance.’
    • ‘The search engine uses technology that infers the topic of the page and then delivers relevant text ads from a database containing thousands of advertisers.’
    • ‘Given this, one can infer that the company remained cautious with the amount it loaned out.’
    • ‘We can infer that the lens migrated into the patient 's left upper eyelid at the time of trauma.’
    • ‘These images can be used to infer local temperatures throughout the storm.’
    • ‘It is reasonable to infer the same effect will be achieved for the others.’
    • ‘It is not possible to confidently infer happiness from a smile, anger from a scowl, or sadness from a frown.’
    deduce, reason, work out, conclude, come to the conclusion, draw the inference, conjecture, surmise, theorize, hypothesize
    View synonyms


There is a distinction in meaning between infer and imply. In the sentence the speaker implied that the General had been a traitor, implied means that the speaker subtly suggested that this man was a traitor (though nothing so explicit was actually stated). However, in we inferred from his words that the General had been a traitor, inferred means that something in the speaker's words enabled the listeners to deduce that the man was a traitor. The two words infer and imply can describe the same event, but from different angles. Use of infer to mean imply, as in are you inferring that I'm a liar? (instead of are you implying that I'm a liar?), is an extremely common error


Late 15th century (in the sense ‘bring about, inflict’): from Latin inferre ‘bring in, bring about’ (in medieval Latin ‘deduce’), from in- ‘into’ + ferre ‘bring’.