verbin·ferred, in·fer·ring, in·fers
- To conclude from evidence or by reasoning: “For many years the cerebral localization of all higher cognitive processes could be inferred only from the effects of brain injuries on the people who survived them” ( Sally E. Shaywitz )
- To involve by logical necessity; entail: “Socrates argued that a statue inferred the existence of a sculptor” ( Academy )
- Usage Problem To indicate indirectly; imply.
To draw inferences.
Origin of infer
Latin īnferre to bring in, adduce in- in
; see in- 2
. ferre to bear
; see bher-1
in Indo-European roots.
Usage Note: Infer is sometimes confused with imply, but the distinction careful writers make between these words is a useful one. When we say that a speaker or sentence implies something, we mean that it is conveyed or suggested without being stated outright: When the mayor said that she would not rule out a business tax increase, she implied (not inferred ) that some taxes might be raised. Inference, on the other hand, is the activity performed by a reader or interpreter in drawing conclusions that are not explicit in what is said: When the mayor said that she would not rule out a tax increase, we inferred that she had consulted with new financial advisers, since her old advisers favored tax reductions.
(third-person singular simple present infers, present participle inferring, simple past and past participle inferred)
- To introduce (something) as a reasoned conclusion; to conclude by reasoning or deduction, as from premises or evidence. [from 16th c.]
- To lead to (something) as a consequence; to imply. (Now often considered incorrect, especially with a person as subject.) [from 16th c.]
- Sir Thomas More
- The first part is not the proof of the second, but rather contrariwise, the second inferreth well the first.
There are two ways in which the word "infer" is sometimes used as if it meant "imply". "Implication" is done by a person when making a "statement", whereas "inference" is done to a proposition after it had already been made or assumed. Secondly, the word "infer" can sometimes be used to mean "allude" or "express" in a suggestive manner rather than as a direct "statement". Using the word "infer" in this sense is now generally considered incorrect.
From Latin inferō.