Definition of import in English:



  • 1Bring (goods or services) into a country from abroad for sale.

    ‘Japan's reluctance to import more cars’
    • ‘Also confounding the picture is the fact that many clock- and watch-makers supplemented their income by making silver and jewelry or importing goods.’
    • ‘The boom of those imported goods have brought more business not only to shipping and docking companies, but also to railroads that take them across the U.S.’
    • ‘Each country will produce the goods and services for which it is best fitted, and import other goods and services which can be produced more efficiently abroad.’
    • ‘Many industries in the UK have suffered as a result of cheap imported foreign goods and as a result of the strength of the pound against other currencies.’
    • ‘Bear in mind, though, that there are financial implications to importing goods from abroad.’
    • ‘According to a shop assistant, all the goods were imported from Syria.’
    • ‘And to protect domestic producers and production capacities it is possible for governments to impose tariffs on cheap imported goods.’
    • ‘Rome was importing goods from its colonies but wasn't exporting nearly as much.’
    • ‘The American economy now depends on a rising tide of cheap imported goods to sustain acceptable levels of economic growth and domestic consumption.’
    • ‘Last May, a distribution company that imported goods from the Middle East and Australia was set up.’
    • ‘With the exception of autos and trucks, imported capital goods account for about 40% of business spending on new equipment.’
    • ‘Retailers could also be affected but in their case the impact would most likely be positive since imported goods could be markedly cheaper.’
    • ‘Food prices and the costs of all imported goods will increase dramatically.’
    • ‘‘While the boom has been good for employment at the bottom, it is not so positive for the economy, as the retail goods are imported,’ he said.’
    • ‘Just as a household cannot buy goods unless it has an income, so we as a country cannot import goods unless we first export goods and services.’
    • ‘And devaluing the peso could boost inflation, as imported goods will become much more expensive.’
    • ‘Businesses needed dollars to import goods and banks charged high rates of interest for hard currency.’
    • ‘High tariff barriers were erected to dissuade domestic manufacturers from importing foreign goods.’
    • ‘Acts were passed prohibiting any but English vessels to trade with English colonies, and allowing only English ships to import goods into England.’
    • ‘Given the distance, most people tend not to import goods, preferring to furnish their properties in the local style.’
    buy from abroad, bring from abroad, bring in, buy in, ship in, source from abroad
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    1. 1.1Introduce (an idea) from a different place or context.
      ‘new beliefs were often imported by sailors’
      • ‘It is expected that there will be few, if any, imported ideas on how we reform and improve our education system.’
      • ‘If we keep on importing ideas and techniques, we become what we call dependent.’
      • ‘By organizing Balinese into artists' groups, they imported the idea that artists were a special class of people, distinct from the rest of society, who needed their own space to thrive.’
      • ‘He imported the idea, and the first elite forces were born.’
      • ‘We are importing ideas and concepts, embodied in media such as television programmes and music that are potentially deleterious to our society.’
      • ‘Gehry was breaking free, blurring boundaries, importing ideas from another discipline into his own.’
      • ‘The very idea of a nation-state is one imported from the west.’
      • ‘The solution is to speed up the process of importing the best ideas from around the world and to train our brains to become more innovative and creative.’
      • ‘This is him at his worst, blindly importing ideas not designed for Scottish circumstances.’
      • ‘7th and 8th-cent. artists developed a fascinating range of responses to these imported concepts and their native inherited traditions.’
      • ‘They have examined practices in a number of countries and imported the best ideas.’
      • ‘And the idea of art being a personal expression, a flag of individuality, is also an idea imported from the West.’
      • ‘I have nothing against importing ideas and approaches from other countries, in fact it is the only way to stay competitive in any sport, but England have taken the wrong kind of medicine.’
      • ‘Like so many other aspects of modern life these ideas were substantially imported from industrial societies.’
      • ‘We import British creative ideas, slap some American accents on the actors and pass it off as fresh and original programming.’
      • ‘It is unclear whether this concept was imported to New York City or spontaneously arose there around the same time.’
      • ‘He wanted to celebrate American patriotism and regional pride rather than imported artistic ideas.’
      • ‘This is why the nation imported the idea of ‘fat camps’ from America - where obesity has for a long time been a great issue.’
      • ‘As so many of the region's best students go to universities in the West, or import foreign ideas and practices, they are often absorbing English as the global language of modern thought.’
      • ‘The result has been a troubling tendency to import prior ideas about adolescence and youth into the new historical context.’
    2. 1.2Computing Transfer (data) into a file or document.
      • ‘Exported data files can be imported into spreadsheets or other databases that recognize this format.’
      • ‘Once a file is imported, you need to change it to the proper format.’
      • ‘But there was no menu command to import files from a disk.’
      • ‘I have tried to save the information as a Word document and import it.’
      • ‘MP3 files can be directly imported and played back, and sound controls are more refined.’
  • 2archaic Indicate or signify.

    ‘having thus seen, what is imported in a Man's trusting his Heart’
    1. 2.1Express or make known.
      [with clause] ‘they passed a resolution importing that they relied on His Majesty's gracious promise’
      • ‘As well as this radical departmentalizing of knowledge, Aristotle imports a further difference.’


  • 1A commodity, article, or service brought in from abroad for sale.

    • ‘She said the move was meant to ensure that local production of wheat was not discouraged by cheaper foreign imports.’
    • ‘The president confirmed he was imposing tariffs to protect beleaguered US producers against cheaper foreign imports.’
    • ‘With cheap imports, excess production capacity, and anemic spending, consumer prices keep falling.’
    • ‘The merchandise cannot compete with cheaper imports.’
    • ‘The hope is that a weaker dollar, by making imports more expensive at home and U.S. exports cheaper abroad, will close the trade gap and stop jobs from going overseas.’
    • ‘He said intense competition from cheaper imports in the local market has resulted in persistent price wars.’
    • ‘In the decades following the Second World War there was strong competition in many markets from cheap imports.’
    • ‘The flood of imports from abroad have had an enormous impact on the company's order books and this, combined with rising costs, had made the decision to cease trading inevitable, they said.’
    • ‘For one thing, practically all of the dollars that go abroad to purchase imports or, now, to pay wages, come back to the United States, to buy goods and services here.’
    • ‘I got my copy of David Bowie's BBC Sessions, but Peter Gabriel's OVO album appears to only be available as an import.’
    • ‘But he cannot increase the prices of his products because of pressure from cheaper imports from outside the EU.’
    • ‘Everybody knows that a falling dollar will boost the economy by making exports cheaper and imports pricier.’
    • ‘Getting the manufacturing association to back a duty on low-priced Chinese imports was a victory for small manufacturers.’
    • ‘It could then export the surplus of this commodity in exchange for imports produced by other countries with respective comparative cost advantages.’
    • ‘The EU imposes tough sanitary and phytosanitary conditions on imports from southern African.’
    • ‘The company admitted that it had taken steps in the past to maintain its market share in the face of cheap imports, but said that those actions had not affected prices in the building materials market.’
    • ‘Yet local manufacturers of everything from toys to shoes, as well as farmers of rice and corn, are struggling just to survive the onslaught of cheap imports.’
    • ‘A typical racer is a male aged 17-24 and most likely driving an import.’
    • ‘The set is currently available in the U.S. as an import.’
    • ‘Consumers in particular have been spending freely, and their purchases of cheap imports help to stretch the buying power of their paychecks.’
    imported commodity, foreign commodity, non-domestic commodity
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    1. 1.1Sales of goods or services brought in from abroad, or the revenue from such sales.
      ‘this surplus pushes up the yen, which ought to boost imports’
      • ‘Trade barriers and overvalued exchange rates encourage imports and discourage exports.’
      • ‘The Bush Administration has slapped unilateral quotas on imports of Chinese textile products, with the threat of more to come in other sectors.’
      • ‘The growth in China's exports has almost been matched by the growth in its imports, bringing the west nearly as many opportunities from Chinese growth as it has faced threats.’
      • ‘Trade statistics showed imports of eels and ‘wakame’ seaweed also fell in the January-June period from a year earlier.’
      • ‘The President also made preliminary moves to block imports of cheap foreign steel.’
      • ‘In 2002, a period of tepid U.S. demand, imports still managed to rise by 10%.’
      • ‘From 1997 to 2002, imports of goods and services increased by a third, while exports of goods and services were flat.’
      • ‘The upshot is that domestic demand has been able to replace net exports as the engine of growth, while both exports and imports are rising at double-digit pace.’
      • ‘This is particularly true when measuring retail sales and imports and exports, where changes in prices might reflect other factors (such as fluctuating exchange rates).’
      • ‘Tax revenues collected from imports and exports of goods this year are expected to be lower than the government's earlier target.’
      • ‘Ministry of Agriculture officials have long campaigned for a higher import tariff on rice amid growing imports of cheap rice products.’
      • ‘But ships are now being serviced, so imports and exports will look stronger in November and beyond.’
      • ‘The following figure shows the exports and imports of goods and services from 1990 to 2004.’
      • ‘These days, Korean farmers are suffering from imports of cheaper Chinese products that are rapidly replacing local goods.’
      • ‘In the poverty-stricken countryside, the situation is only going to deteriorate after WTO entry triggers imports of cheap foreign grain.’
      • ‘Although imports of capital goods used by factories have fallen, imports of cars, brand-name clothing, and other consumer goods are up.’
      • ‘The financial indicators are profits, exports and imports.’
      • ‘Even the tariff measure alone would pose a dilemma in view of the country's heavy reliance on imports for such food commodities as rice, sugar, corn and soybean and meat.’
      • ‘For exports and imports of goods and services, Census international trade data are the primary source.’
      • ‘This report comes on the back of one of the strongest months of auto sales on record, a very robust housing market, ballooning imports, and signs of strengthening retail sales.’
    2. 1.2The action or process of importing goods or services.
      ‘the import of live cattle from Canada’
      • ‘Malaysia reaffirmed its position to maintain auto-part import duties as they are to protect its domestic industry.’
      • ‘The Government is determined not to burden the economy with the import of costly electricity.’
      • ‘Put another way, costs that used to be absorbed by the private sector in the form of export and import duties and tariffs have been transferred onto taxpayers in the form of security costs.’
      • ‘In addition, the Angolan Press Agency has reported that the proposed legislation is only the draft of a law intended to regulate the import of seeds and grains.’
      • ‘It is then only a small step to the mistaken notion that imports should be discouraged, perhaps through import controls.’
      • ‘Singapore has import duties on only a small number of items.’
      • ‘She said: ‘It is ridiculous that they have been allowing the import of birds as pets in recent weeks without even placing them in quarantine.’’
      • ‘This aid, he said, could take the form of import duties or, in rare cases, prohibition of imports.’
      • ‘Exports of primary commodities and the import of finished products are not favourable for any country.’
      • ‘The McKinley Tariff Act of 1890 raised import duties to protect American-made products.’
      • ‘The higher import duty will first apply for six months and, if during investigation the government finds that the imports can seriously injure the local industries, it could stay in place for four years.’
      • ‘This will be followed by establishing an assembly unit there to save on import duty.’
      • ‘Vegetable growers did not suffer any major setbacks this year and thanks to the measures against the import of fruit and vegetables, many local growers got a good price for their produce.’
      • ‘Tax holidays and import duty exemptions are available to investors in certain enterprises for which there is a special need.’
      • ‘Local facilities should allow the company to avoid excessive import duties.’
      • ‘The import duties and VAT are then paid to the Customs Division of the Ministry of Finance.’
      • ‘That plant exists in part to build cars closer to their eventual owners, saving both time and money for transportation and import duty.’
      • ‘An application has been made to the World Trade Organisation to prevent the import of unsafe, substandard stoves.’
      • ‘In compensation, however, the government stepped in to stop the import of sub-standard and illegal products.’
      • ‘Taxes on foreign trade (both import duties and export taxes) are also relatively easily monitored and collected.’
      importation, importing, introduction, bringing in, bringing from abroad, buying from abroad, sourcing from abroad, shipping in
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  • 2[in singular] The meaning or significance of something, especially when not directly stated.

    ‘the import of her message is clear’
    • ‘I hope the answers to these questions can at least provide a basic understanding of the import of the message.’
    • ‘The pointlessly beautiful (beautifully pointless) game seems burdened with a vast weight of financial, cultural, political import.’
    • ‘Sport imbues the ephemeral and the silly and the transitory with great gravity, and it's a kind of consolation in a world that buckles beneath meaning and import and significance.’
    • ‘Finally, it will be worth considering a small incident in the life of a woman that has more symbolic import than real life significance.’
    • ‘While I had photographed his eye (upon his direction), it wasn't until later that he confessed that its import had to do with me reflected in his eye.’
    • ‘The farther you distance yourself from it, the more it swells, gains gravitational heft, reveals mythic import.’
    • ‘The suggested amendments do not in any way change the import or substance of my order.’
    • ‘Harrison's normally-expressive flint-blue eyes turned shark-like as he savoured the import of those words, turning them over in his mind like a terrier worrying a bone.’
    • ‘The apparently inane becomes loaded with import, the trivial can suddenly become significant, while the grand gestures are often revealed as essentially meaningless.’
    • ‘The dustup between the professors provoked a flurry of articles and op-eds earlier this year, but most of the coverage missed its true import.’
    • ‘What is most striking, however, about the passage is that its tone and import departs substantially from what he had written throughout the height of his scholarly career.’
    meaning, sense, essence, gist, drift, purport, message, thrust, substance, sum and substance, implication, signification, point, burden, tenor, spirit
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    1. 2.1Great significance; importance.
      ‘pronouncements of world-shaking import’
      • ‘And I realised that my muzzy warm self-regard was only made possible because I had in fact faced very few real moments of moral import.’
      • ‘I thought it was ridiculous that he should think that just because he felt like talking to me, I should have been obliged to respond if I had nothing of import to say.’
      • ‘The import of what he had just admitted - for the first time - initially went unnoticed.’
      • ‘Most of all, I remember a sense that something of great import and significance was taking place, but we were not sure what it was.’
      • ‘This recalls Oscar Wilde's aphorism that in matters of great import, style is always more important than substance.’
      • ‘You have to remember that the Ottoman Empire was still reasonably strong and control of the mountainous terrain that separated it from the Russian Empire was of great strategic import.’
      • ‘Everything else is of little import, of little weight on the human conscience and pales in significance.’
      • ‘‘We have gone too far in emphasizing the value and import of the purely rational,’ Goleman wrote.’
      • ‘One would imagine that who stays and who goes would be of vital import to the prospects of the club's new manager, but one of his first acts in the job was to indicate that he preferred to leave such matters to others.’
      • ‘She recognized the import of the message and notified the police immediately.’
      • ‘They provide a timely reminder - for the writer as well as his readers - of the import and significance of such moments.’
      • ‘He was there to pull a trigger; the consequences were of no import.’
      • ‘In addition to their importance for conservation, consequences of hybridization are of considerable import to evolutionary biology.’
      • ‘The play aspires to the weight and import that American theatre had in the glory days of Arthur Miller, Elia Kazan and Tennessee Williams.’
      • ‘Decisions of momentous import are made in board rooms and bankers' offices.’
      • ‘They are momentary events of great import and even beauty.’
      • ‘This is clearly an issue of substantial import to both the current political race and our very survival.’
      • ‘The turban, since ancient times, has been of significant import in the Punjab, the land of the five rivers and the birthplace of Sikhism.’
      • ‘They quite simply have no statistical value and should never be used for questions of serious import.’
      • ‘This is an extremely important phase of the war, and its import should not be minimized.’
      importance, significance, consequence, moment, momentousness, magnitude, substance, weight, weightiness, note, noteworthiness, gravity, seriousness
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Late Middle English (in the sense signify): from Latin importare bring in (in medieval Latin imply, mean, be of consequence), from in- in + portare carry.