Definition of construe in English:


See synonyms for construe

Translate construe into Spanish

transitive verbtransitive verb construes, transitive verb construing, transitive verb construed

[with object]
  • 1Interpret (a word or action) in a particular way.

    ‘his words could hardly be construed as an apology’
    • ‘I find it difficult to see how those words could be construed as a dismissal of the committee's recommendations.’
    • ‘He thought that if the words were construed as including the specific needs of a disabled child it would be necessary in every such case to determine what that child's specific needs were.’
    • ‘While, in the first instance, a consolidating Act is to be construed in the same way as any other, if real doubt as to its legal meaning arises, its words are to be construed as if they remained in the earlier Act.’
    • ‘In essence his submission was that those words were to be construed as being confined to torts and therefore did not include the pleaded acts of knowing assistance.’
    • ‘The washing of dishes and the preaching of the word could both be construed as material expressions of devotion.’
    • ‘Moreover words are to be construed as generally used in the jurisdiction of England and Wales.’
    • ‘High Court strictures cannot be construed as a ban on demonstrations and rallies rather they are meant to hold them in a peaceful manner without causing much trouble to the public.’
    • ‘Any such failure should be construed as contempt of court and should therefore attract prosecution of the police officers involved.’
    • ‘This change was made because the word ‘commitment’ could be construed as a legally-binding promise of continued financial aid.’
    • ‘The definition's use of words like ‘traitor’ cannot be construed as representations of fact.’
    • ‘The right of access to a Court has been construed as including the right to effective enforcement of judgments.’
    • ‘But opponents charged that tossing out the amnesty laws would open a can of worms and that Congress could be construed as overstepping bounds and infringing on the courts' decisions.’
    • ‘I am tempted to ask him whether it could not be construed as denunciatory, but decide to leave its interpretation opened-ended and up to the individual viewer.’
    • ‘The words are not to be construed as if they were provisions in Acts of Parliament.’
    • ‘In such societies, one's eccentric taste is always more likely to be construed as a threat to the community - as a signifier of disloyalty - than as an icon of aspiration.’
    • ‘Or if we sent an e-mail about that issue using our computer, it would probably be construed as a misuse of the computer.’
    • ‘This should not be construed as a lack of interest in this offer of funding.’
    • ‘He said that morale continued to suffer, but when officers raised their concerns with their superiors they were ‘either ignored or dealt with in such a way that can only be construed as bullying’.’
    • ‘The advertisements correspond very well with the government's overall intent and I can't see how it could be construed as misleading in any way.’
    • ‘‘There is legislation which clearly makes it an offence to offer or expose for sale any item which can be construed as obscene,’ the police spokeswoman said.’
    interpret, understand, read, see, take, take to mean, parse, render, analyse, explain, elucidate, gloss, decode
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 dated Analyze the syntax of (a text, sentence, or word)
      ‘both verbs can be construed with either infinitive’
      • ‘Alternatively, the verb might be construed with the direct object ‘life’.’
      • ‘And explaining how to construe a sentence spoils its effect, just as explaining the punch line of a joke does.’
      • ‘All we need to do is to construe each action sentence as involving an implicit existential quantification, with the variable of quantification taking events as its possible values.’
      • ‘Although it is open to a court in limited circumstances to conclude that the words or syntax used is wrong, the purpose remains to construe the words used.’
      • ‘It is permissible, where the context so allows, to construe words used in the plural as including the singular.’
    2. 1.2 dated Translate (a passage or author) word for word, typically aloud.



/kənˈstro͞o/ /kənˈstru/


Late Middle English from Latin construere (see construct), in late Latin ‘analyze the construction of a sentence’.