imply, infer

imply, infer
   "Speaking on ABC-TV's Good Morning America, Mrs. Bush inferred that Clinton had brought disrespect to the presidency" (Los Angeles Times). According to nearly all authorities, on both sides of the Atlantic, the word there should be implied, not inferred. Imply means to suggest: "He implied that I was a fool." Infer means to deduce: "After three hours of waiting, we inferred that they weren't coming." A speaker implies, a listener infers. The distinction is useful and, in careful writing nowadays, expected. However, there is not a great deal of historical basis for it. Many great writers, among them Milton, Sir Thomas More, Jane Austen, and Shakespeare, freely used infer where we would today insist on imply. Indeed, until as late as 1976, the Concise Oxford Dictionary treated the words as interchangeable. Nonetheless, to use infer where most educated people now expect imply is to invite derision.

Dictionary of troublesome word. . 2013.

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  • imply - infer — ◊ imply If you imply that something is the case, you suggest that it is the case without actually saying so. Somehow he implied that he was the one who had done all the work. His tone implied that he hoped that something would happen soon. ◊… …   Useful english dictionary

  • imply / infer —    Imply means to suggest indirectly : Her hesitation implied that her answer was no.    Infer means to draw a conclusion from known facts : He inferred that the answer was no from her hesitation.  See implicate / imply …   Confused words

  • imply / infer —    Imply means to suggest indirectly : Her hesitation implied that her answer was no.    Infer means to draw a conclusion from known facts : He inferred that the answer was no from her hesitation.  See implicate / imply …   Confused words

  • imply, infer —     Speaking on ABC TV s Good Morning America, Mrs. Bush inferred that Clinton had brought disrespect to the presidency (Los Angeles Times). According to nearly all authorities, on both sides of the Atlantic, the word there should be implied, not …   Dictionary of troublesome word

  • imply, infer — To imply is to suggest a meaning only hinted at, not explicitly stated. To infer is to draw a conclusion from statements, evidence, or circumstances. Your remark implies that Bill was untruthful. The officer inferred from the fingerprints that… …   Dictionary of problem words and expressions

  • infer — See imply, infer. See imply, infer …   Dictionary of problem words and expressions

  • imply, insinuate — To imply is to indicate without actual statement something that is to be inferred (See imply, infer). TO insinuate is to hint slyly or subtly, to instill an idea by tricky, subtle, or underhanded means. Insinuate also means to enter or introduce… …   Dictionary of problem words and expressions

  • imply — See imply, infer See imply, insinuate …   Dictionary of problem words and expressions

  • imply — 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 — 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

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