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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for construing
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • For their construing I have been given what schoolboys call a crib.

    Another Sheaf John Galsworthy
  • The same caution should be observed in construing the terms of an agreement.

    The Common Law Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
  • The next day the Sixth Form, as usual, went into the library to do their construing.

  • He held it open, but the period of construing had evidently passed.

    The Shadow of Life Anne Douglas Sedgwick
  • "Nay, I meant no offence," he said, construing the look correctly.

    Boscobel: or, the royal oak William Harrison Ainsworth
  • I shall be contented with construing my motives in my own way.

    Ormond, Volume II (of 3)

    Charles Brockden Brown
  • Desnoyers was silent, too, construing her stillness as assent.

    The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse Vicente Blasco Ibanez
  • Carter was construing, and had made a most preposterous howler, it does not matter what.

    The Loom of Youth Alec Waugh
  • "Certainly," said poor Kelson, construing this last speech into sentence of death to his love.

    An Old Sailor's Yarns Nathaniel Ames
British Dictionary definitions for construing


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 construing



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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