Origin of imply
usage note for imply
OTHER WORDS FROM implyre·im·ply, verb (used with object), re·im·plied, re·im·ply·ing.su·per·im·ply, verb (used with object), su·per·im·plied, su·per·im·ply·ing.
Words nearby imply
IMPLY VS. INFER
What's the difference between imply and infer?
To imply is to indicate or suggest something without actually stating it. Infer most commonly means to guess or use reasoning to come to a conclusion based on what has been suggested.
Imply and infer can be confused because they’re often used at opposite ends of the same situation. When someone implies something (suggests it without saying it explicitly), you have to infer their meaning (conclude what it is based on the hints that have been given).
For example, you might infer that your friend wants cake for their birthday because they keep talking about how much they like cake and reminding you that their birthday is coming up. Your friend didn’t actually ask for cake, but they implied that they want it by giving you hints. You used these hints to infer that they want cake.
Of course, there are situations in which you might infer something when nothing was implied or nothing was intended to be implied.
Probably due to the association between the two words, infer is sometimes used to mean the same thing as imply—to hint or suggest. Even though this can be confusing, the meaning of infer can usually be easily inferred from the context in which it’s used.
Here’s an example of imply and infer used correctly in a sentence.
Example: Even though he only implied that he may be in trouble, we correctly inferred that he was.
Want to learn more? Read the full breakdown of the difference between imply and infer.
Quiz yourself on imply vs. infer!
Should imply or infer be used in the following sentence?
I _____ from your annoyed tone that you weren’t happy with your birthday cake.
How to use imply in a sentence
Powell said the Fed will seek inflation that averages 2% over time, a step that implies allowing for price pressures to overshoot after periods of weakness.Low interest rates may be here to stay, following Fed Chief Powell’s new approach on inflation|Lee Clifford|August 27, 2020|Fortune
The S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 scaled new peaks Wednesday, but their respective measures of implied volatility also rose in tandem.The stock market is hitting new records—but a warning signal called the ‘VIX’ is flashing|Lee Clifford|August 27, 2020|Fortune
The latest science, it said, did not imply that a person is immune in the three months following infection.Supervisor by Day, But a COVID-19 Skeptic on the Airwaves|Katy Stegall|August 20, 2020|Voice of San Diego
In plain English, this implies that a group of pre-selected officials or government officers would have the authority to confirm the data on the blockchain.The U.S. Postal Service is seeking a patent for voting by phone|Jeff|August 17, 2020|Fortune
Accounting for the much bluer national environment, that would imply either that Florida is immune to shifts in the national mood or that the state lurched to the right sometime in the intervening two years.
In other words, Coexist stickers may imply a desire for global love.
Aielli, who was very much alive when she learned of her funeral plans and the death threat they imply, says she is not deterred.Days of Mafia Mayhem Are Wracking Italy Once Again|Barbie Latza Nadeau|November 22, 2014|DAILY BEAST
In his standup act, Buress has told rape jokes that explicitly imply sexual violence against women for a laugh.Bill Cosby Foe Hannibal Buress Joked About Date Rape|Rich Goldstein|November 20, 2014|DAILY BEAST
That seemed to imply a spicy sex life, I say to him the next day.Gay Activist David Mixner: I Mercy Killed 8 People|Tim Teeman|October 29, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Specific job descriptions imply a meticulous attention to detail will be necessary in the mission.
Now this setting up of an orderly law-abiding self seems to me to imply that there are impulses which make for order.Children's Ways|James Sully
The fillip given would have been far, far greater than that which the mere numbers (1,200 for the Division) would seem to imply.Gallipoli Diary, Volume I|Ian Hamilton
They always imply desquamation of epithelium, which rarely occurs except in parenchymatous inflammations (Figs. 60 and 61).A Manual of Clinical Diagnosis|James Campbell Todd
These two phenomenal facts imply some strong antagonism to the priesthood and their system.Solomon and Solomonic Literature|Moncure Daniel Conway
Unless perhaps, as Aunty Rosa seemed to imply, they had sent secret orders.Kipling Stories and Poems Every Child Should Know, Book II|Rudyard Kipling