Definition of infer in English:


See synonyms for infer

Translate infer into Spanish

transitive verbtransitive verb infers, transitive verb inferring, transitive verb inferred

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

    with clause ‘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
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/inˈfər/ /ɪnˈfər/


There is a distinction in meaning between infer and imply. In the sentence the speaker implied that the general had been a traitor, the word implied means that something in the speaker's words ‘suggested’ that this man was a traitor (although nothing so explicit was actually stated). However, in we inferred from his words that the general had been a traitor, the word 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. Mistakes occur when infer is used to mean imply, as in are you inferring that I'm a liar? (instead of are you implying that I'm a liar?)


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’.