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[verb kuh n-stroo or, esp. British, kon-stroo; noun kon-stroo] /verb kənˈstru or, esp. British, ˈkɒn stru; noun ˈkɒn stru/
verb (used with object), construed, construing.
to give the meaning or intention of; explain; interpret.
to deduce by inference or interpretation; infer:
He construed her intentions from her gestures.
to translate, especially orally.
to analyze the syntax of; to rehearse the applicable grammatical rules of:
to construe a sentence.
to arrange or combine (words, phrases, etc.) syntactically.
verb (used without object), construed, construing.
to admit of grammatical analysis or interpretation.
the act of construing.
something that is construed.
Origin of construe
1325-75; Middle English construen < Latin construere to put together, build, equivalent to con- con- + struere to pile up, arrange, perhaps akin to sternere to spread, strew; see stratum
Related forms
construer, noun
unconstrued, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for construed
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In giving up Anne, when Anne had told him he might hope, he had construed all the sacrifice as his own.

    The Tempering Charles Neville Buck
  • The science of society might be construed as the study of them.

    Folkways William Graham Sumner
  • Avoid carefully subjects which may be construed into personalities, and keep a strict reserve upon family matters.

  • I had not spoken—I had not moved, and my timid glance could not have been construed into one of rudeness.

    The Quadroon Mayne Reid
  • Surely the change in both was great—a change which she construed as absolutely to her own disadvantage as it was to his advantage.

    A Manifest Destiny Julia Magruder
British Dictionary definitions for construed


verb (mainly transitive) -strues, -struing, -strued
to interpret the meaning of (something): you can construe that in different ways
(may take a clause as object) to discover by inference; deduce
to analyse the grammatical structure of; parse (esp a Latin or Greek text as a preliminary to translation)
to combine (words) syntactically
(also intransitive) (old-fashioned) to translate literally, esp aloud as an academic exercise
(old-fashioned) something that is construed, such as a piece of translation
Derived Forms
construable, adjective
construability, noun
construer, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Latin construere to pile up; see construct
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for construed



late 14c., from Late Latin construere "to relate grammatically," in classical Latin "to build up, pile together" (see construction); also see construct (v.), which is a later acquisition of the same word. Related: Construed; construing; construal.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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