Definition of imply in English:



  • 1Strongly suggest the truth or existence of (something not expressly stated)

    ‘the salesmen who uses jargon to imply his superior knowledge’
    with clause ‘the report implies that two million jobs might be lost’
    • ‘To say this is to imply that racism can simply be washed away, wished away or ignored.’
    • ‘He said: "They were clearly implying impropriety on my part."’
    • ‘The relative absence of women in this public sphere automatically implies their lack of power.’
    • ‘Her words were ripped out of context and her speech was widely reported as implying her support for terrorism.’
    • ‘Believe it or not, this was a pejorative term, implying unrealistic ambitions.’
    • ‘When he started as Labour leader the cartoonists saw him as Bambi, referring to that smiley expression as well as implying a certain naivety.’
    • ‘I have never said that we will win because that rather implies you know what voters are going to do.’
    • ‘They were very clever in the way in which they implied what was going on.’
    • ‘He stressed he was not implying wrongdoing by anyone connected with the Minster.’
    • ‘He seems to imply that domestic violence, especially against women, isn't that big a deal.’
    • ‘This implied that there could be more than a single correct answer to the same question.’
    • ‘The rebirth implied by the concept of the Renaissance had reference to classical learning.’
    • ‘These data imply that kava extract is superior to placebo as a symptomatic treatment of anxiety.’
    • ‘The new finding implies that our own galaxy is probably much bigger than textbooks say.’
    • ‘Of course, that one doesn't protest about a thing doesn't necessarily imply endorsement of it.’
    • ‘The book's very title implies acceptance of the classic distinction in philosophy between matter and form.’
    • ‘Both claims are often implied in arguments, but rarely made explicit.’
    • ‘He was implying that learning about something could somehow contaminate you; that knowledge could corrupt.’
    • ‘At the same time, the original article strongly implied that the memo came from the GOP.’
    • ‘The results also imply that statins could help treat rheumatoid arthritis and other auto-immune diseases.’
    insinuate, suggest, hint, intimate, implicate, say indirectly, indicate, give someone to understand, give someone to believe, convey the impression, signal
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    1. 1.1 (of a fact or occurrence) suggest (something) as a logical consequence.
      ‘the forecasted traffic increase implied more roads and more air pollution’
      • ‘To suggest so implies a deep misunderstanding of the nature of consciousness.’
      • ‘Theft from a major museum need not necessarily imply neglect or faulty security systems.’
      • ‘Check the underside for signs of heavy scuffing as this could imply track use.’
      • ‘This may or may not be an error, but it does not necessarily imply a systemic failing.’
      • ‘Our position in no way implied political support for the Democratic Party.’
      • ‘Caring for and protecting the historic environment does not imply opposing change.’
      • ‘Amassing more data does not necessarily imply the acquisition of better information.’
      • ‘Videogames imply conflict, either between players, or a single player battling a computer.’
      • ‘Patronage politics implied the distribution of positions as well as benefits of various forms.’
      • ‘Excuse me for being slightly cynical, but going to a film doesn't necessarily imply a dose of culture.’
      • ‘High levels do not necessarily imply cancer, but indicate the need for a fuller investigation.’
      • ‘The growth of formal law necessarily implies a decline in other forms of social cohesion, or glue.’
      • ‘Although these models imply the possibility of negative interest rates, the chance is very low with well chosen parameters.’
      • ‘Immunogenicity does not necessarily imply opsonising antibody production.’
      • ‘This objection presupposes that group differences imply essential conflicts of interest.’
      • ‘It was a kind gesture but one that would be unlikely today because it might imply culpability and lead to litigation.’
      • ‘Of course, that one doesn't protest about a thing doesn't necessarily imply endorsement of it.’
      • ‘Caring about the consequences of events of which you disapproved does not imply support for those events.’
      • ‘Sitting on a fence does not imply a lack of commitment, it simply gives one the option on which side to get off.’
      • ‘Of course, the real picture is much more complicated than this statistic implies.’
      involve, entail
      View synonyms


Imply and infer do not mean the same thing and should not be used interchangeably: see infer


Late Middle English: from Old French emplier, from Latin implicare, from in- ‘in’ + plicare ‘to fold’. The original sense was ‘entwine’; in the 16th and 17th centuries the word also meant ‘employ’. Compare with employ and implicate.