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verb (used with object)
  1. to give or impart knowledge of a fact or circumstance to: He informed them of his arrival.
  2. to supply (oneself) with knowledge of a matter or subject: She informed herself of all the pertinent facts.
  3. to give evident substance, character, or distinction to; pervade or permeate with manifest effect: A love of nature informed his writing.
  4. to animate or inspire.
  5. Obsolete.
    1. to train or instruct.
    2. to make known; disclose.
    3. to give or impart form to.
verb (used without object)
  1. to give information; supply knowledge or enlightenment: a magazine that entertains more than it informs.
Verb Phrases
  1. inform on, to furnish incriminating evidence about (someone) to an authority, prosecuting officer, etc.: He informed on his accomplices.

Origin of inform1

1275–1325; Middle English informen < Latin infōrmāre to form, shape, equivalent to in- in-2 + fōrmāre to form; replacing Middle English enfourmen < Middle French enfourmer < Latin, as above
Related formsin·form·a·ble, adjectivein·form·ing·ly, adverbhalf-in·form·ing, adjectivehalf-in·form·ing·ly, adverbun·in·form·ing, adjective


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1. apprise; notify, advise, tell. 2. acquaint.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for informable


  1. (tr; often foll by of or about) to give information to; tell
  2. (tr; often foll by of or about) to make conversant (with)
  3. (intr; often foll by against or on) to give information regarding criminals, as to the police, etc
  4. to give form to
  5. to impart some essential or formative characteristic to
  6. (tr) to animate or inspire
  7. (tr) obsolete
    1. to train or educate
    2. to report
Derived Formsinformable, adjectiveinformedly (ɪnˈfɔːmɪdlɪ), adverbinformingly, adverb

Word Origin

C14: from Latin informāre to give form to, describe, from formāre to form


  1. archaic without shape; unformed

Word Origin

C16: from Latin informis from in- 1 + forma shape
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

Word Origin and History for informable



early 14c., "to train or instruct in some specific subject," from Old French informer "instruct, inform, teach," and directly from Latin informare "to shape, form," figuratively "train, instruct, educate," from in- "into" (see in- (2)) + formare "to form, shape," from forma "form" (see form (n.)). Varied with enform until c.1600. Sense of "report facts or news" first recorded late 14c. Related: Informed; informing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper