- to derive by reasoning; conclude or judge from premises or evidence: They inferred his displeasure from his cool tone of voice.
- (of facts, circumstances, statements, etc.) to indicate or involve as a conclusion; lead to.
- to guess; speculate; surmise.
- to hint; imply; suggest.
- to draw a conclusion, as by reasoning.
Origin of infer
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Although the claimed distinction has probably existed chiefly in the pronouncements of usage guides, and although the use of infer to mean “to suggest” usually produces no ambiguity, the distinction too has a long history and is widely observed by many speakers and writers.
Examples from the Web for inferring
Kelly began the segment calling Nolan a “self radicalized” Muslim, inferring that his horrific crime was connected to Islam.Megyn Kelly’s Really Scary Muslim
October 5, 2014
"Mad as a hatter," said Grant, inferring the joke was on Pierre.Lords of the North
A. C. Laut
There is always danger of inferring more than the facts warrant.Elementary Guide to Literary Criticism
F. V. N. Painter
He is not generalizing; he is inferring a particular from particulars.
In fact the more he read his letter over, the more he got to inferring it himself.The American Claimant
Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
He is not generalising; he is inferring a particular from particulars.A Logic Of Facts
George Jacob Holyoake
- to conclude (a state of affairs, supposition, etc) by reasoning from evidence; deduce
- (tr) to have or lead to as a necessary or logical consequence; indicate
- (tr) to hint or imply
Word Origin and History for inferring
1520s, from Latin inferre "bring into, carry in; deduce, infer, conclude, draw an inference; bring against," from in- "in" (see in- (2)) + ferre "carry, bear," from PIE *bher- (1) "to bear, to carry, to take" (cf. Sanskrit bharati "carries;" Avestan baraiti "carries;" Old Persian barantiy "they carry;" Armenian berem "I carry;" Greek pherein "to carry;" Old Irish beru/berim "I catch, I bring forth;" Gothic bairan "to carry;" Old English and Old High German beran, Old Norse bera "barrow;" Old Church Slavonic birati "to take;" Russian brat' "to take," bremya "a burden"). Sense of "draw a conclusion" is first attested 1520s.