[ verb kuhn-stroo; noun kon-stroo ]
See synonyms for: construeconstrued on

verb (used with object),con·strued, con·stru·ing.
  1. to give the meaning or intention of; explain; interpret.

  2. to deduce by inference or interpretation; infer: He construed her intentions from her gestures.

  1. to translate, especially orally.

  2. to analyze the syntax of; to rehearse the applicable grammatical rules of: to construe a sentence.

  3. to arrange or combine (words, phrases, etc.) syntactically.

verb (used without object),con·strued, con·stru·ing.
  1. to admit of grammatical analysis or interpretation.

  1. the act of construing.

  2. something that is construed.

Origin of construe

First recorded in 1325–75; Middle English construen, from Latin construere “to put together, build,” equivalent to con- con- + struere “to pile up, arrange,” perhaps akin to sternere “to spread, scatter”; see strew, stratum

Other words from construe

  • con·stru·er, noun

Words Nearby construe Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use construe in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for construe


/ (kənˈstruː) /

verb-strues, -struing or -strued (mainly tr)
  1. to interpret the meaning of (something): you can construe that in different ways

  2. (may take a clause as object) to discover by inference; deduce

  1. to analyse the grammatical structure of; parse (esp a Latin or Greek text as a preliminary to translation)

  2. to combine (words) syntactically

  3. (also intr) old-fashioned to translate literally, esp aloud as an academic exercise

  1. old-fashioned something that is construed, such as a piece of translation

Origin of construe

C14: from Latin construere to pile up; see construct

Derived forms of construe

  • construable, adjective
  • construability, noun
  • construer, noun

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