involved, indicated, or suggested without being directly or explicitly stated; tacitly understood: an implied rebuke; an implied compliment.

Origin of implied

First recorded in 1520–30; imply + -ed2
Related formsim·pli·ed·ly [im-plahy-id-lee] /ɪmˈplaɪ ɪd li/, adverbun·im·plied, adjectivewell-im·plied, adjective
Can be confusedexplicit implicit implied



verb (used with object), im·plied, im·ply·ing.

to indicate or suggest without being explicitly stated: His words implied a lack of faith.
(of words) to signify or mean.
to involve as a necessary circumstance: Speech implies a speaker.
Obsolete. to enfold.

Origin of imply

1325–75; Middle English implien, emplien < Middle French emplier < Latin implicāre; see implicate
Related formsre·im·ply, verb (used with object), re·im·plied, re·im·ply··per·im·ply, verb (used with object), su·per·im·plied, su·per·im·ply·ing.
Can be confusedimply infer (see usage note at infer)

Synonyms for imply

Usage note

See infer. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for implied

Contemporary Examples of implied

Historical Examples of implied

  • There was an implied crime-partnership in her glance which revolted him.


    W. A. Fraser

  • Crane must know that it was his implied desires that had led up to the stopping of Lucretia.


    W. A. Fraser

  • He had felt a moral superiority in denying the implied bad habits.


    W. A. Fraser

  • Day after day, she was ridiculed for what implied no blame, and admitted of no remedy.

  • It was a species of punctuation, and implied that Mr. Morgan had finished his remark.

    The Slave Of The Lamp

    Henry Seton Merriman

British Dictionary definitions for implied



hinted at or suggested; not directly expressedan implied criticism
Derived Formsimpliedly (ɪmˈplaɪɪdlɪ), adverb


verb -plies, -plying or -plied (tr; may take a clause as object)

to express or indicate by a hint; suggestwhat are you implying by that remark?
to suggest or involve as a necessary consequence
logic to enable (a conclusion) to be inferred
obsolete to entangle or enfold

Word Origin for imply

C14: from Old French emplier, from Latin implicāre to involve; see implicate


See infer
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 implied



late 14c., "to enfold, enwrap, entangle" (the classical Latin sense), from Old French emplier, from Latin implicare "involve" (see implication). Meaning "to involve something unstated as a logical consequence" first recorded c.1400; that of "to hint at" from 1580s. Related: Implied; implying. The distinction between imply and infer is in "What do you imply by that remark?" But, "What am I to infer from that remark?"

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper