infer


infer
infer, deduce, conclude, judge, gather are comparable when they mean to arrive at by reasoning from evidence or from premises. All except gather are so clearly differentiated in logical use that these distinctions tend to be retained in general use. The derivative nouns inference, deduction, conclusion, judgment, especially as applied to the propositions or mental formulations derived by reasoning, are even more precisely fixed in usage.
Infer basically implies a formulating (as of an opinion, a principle, a fact, or a probability) from evidence presented or premises accepted. In general use the term often connotes slightness in the evidence and so comes close to surmise; in logic, however, it and inference convey no suggestion of weakness or strength
{

"I see motion," said Thomas: "I infer a motor!" This reasoning . . . is . . . stronger than some more modern inferences of science— Henry Adams

}
{

"Oh, well, don't worry. Jane hasn't got any complexes." From which Gard . . . inferred she thought he [Gard] had— Mary Austin

}
Deduce, in nontechnical language, usually means to infer, with added implications of very definite grounds for the inference; in strict logical use, it means to derive an inference from a general principle; that is, to make a deduction as opposed to an induction (see DEDUCTION 3). This distinction, an important one to logicians and philosophers, is nearly lost in general use
{

what a man is as an end perishes when he dies; what he produces as a means continues to the end of time. We cannot deny this, but we can deny the consequences deduced from it— Russell

}
{

the last entry was in pencil, three weeks previous as to date, and had been written by someone with a very unsteady hand. I deduced from this that the management was not overparticular— Chandler

}
Conclude is often employed as an equivalent of deduce in its general sense. More precisely used, it means to draw the inference that is the necessary consequence of preceding propositions whether these propositions are the premises of a syllogism or the members of a series of previously drawn inferences constituting an unbroken chain of reasoning.
A conclusion is therefore either the third proposition of a syllogism or the final, summarizing proposition in a rational process. In general use conclude and conclusion frequently preserve the implication of logical necessity in the inference
{

do not conclude that all State activities will be State monopolies— Shaw

}
{

the more one scans the later pages of Mark Twain's history the more one is forced to the conclusion that there was something gravely amiss with his inner life— Brooks'

}
{

on the basis of years of intensive work . . . [he] concludes that comic books are a profound "anti-educational" influence— Mills

}
Judge and judgment are nearly equivalent to conclude and conclusion but usually connote careful examination of evidence or critical testing of premises and the fitness of the conclusion for affirmation
{

an economist should form an independent judgment on currency questions, but an ordinary mortal had better follow authority— Russell

}
{

his career will inevitably be judged by the achievements or failures of his Government as a whole— Wills

}
{

most of the tribes of Southern Iraq, judged by their physical characteristics, are of very mixed origin— Thesiger

}
To gather is to conclude, but it connotes reflection rather than careful reasoning, and the putting of two and two together
{

thereby he may gather the ground of your ill will— Shak.

}
{

from Thomasin's words and manner he had plainly gathered that Wildeve neglected her— Hardy

}
Analogous words: reason, speculate, *think: surmise, *conjecture, guess

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • infer — infer, imply 1. The only point noted by Fowler (1926) was that the inflected forms of infer are inferred and inferring, and this is thankfully still true (but note inferable or inferrable, with one r or two, and inference with only one r). Fowler …   Modern English usage

  • Infer — In*fer , v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Inferred}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Inferring}.] [L. inferre to bring into, bring forward, occasion, infer; pref. in in + ferre to carry, bring: cf. F. inf[ e]rer. See 1 st {Bear}.] [1913 Webster] 1. To bring on; to induce;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • infer — in·fer /in fər/ vb in·ferred, in·fer·ring vt: to derive as a conclusion from facts or premises could infer acceptance of the offer from the offeree s response vi: to draw inferences in·fer·able also in·fer·ri·ble /in fər ə bəl/ adj …   Law dictionary

  • infer — [in fʉr′] vt. inferred, inferring [L inferre, to bring or carry in, infer < in , in + ferre, to carry, BEAR1] 1. Obs. to bring on or about; cause; induce 2. to conclude or decide from something known or assumed; derive by reasoning; draw as a… …   English World dictionary

  • infer — (v.) 1520s, from L. inferre bring into, carry in; deduce, infer, conclude, draw an inference; bring against, from in in (see IN (Cf. in ) (2)) + ferre carry, bear, from PIE *bher (1) to bear, to carry, to take (Cf. Skt. bharati carries; Avestan… …   Etymology dictionary

  • infer — ► VERB (inferred, inferring) ▪ deduce from evidence and reasoning rather than from explicit statements. DERIVATIVES inferable (also inferrable) adjective. USAGE On the use of imply and infer, see the note at …   English terms dictionary

  • infer — adj. inv. (despre ovar) situat dedesubtul punctelor de inserţie ale sepalelor, petalelor sau staminelor. (< fr. infère, lat. inferus) Trimis de raduborza, 15.09.2007. Sursa: MDN …   Dicționar Român

  • infer — ìnfer m DEFINICIJA reg. željezna rešetka na prozoru ETIMOLOGIJA tal. inferriata …   Hrvatski jezični portal

  • infer — [v] conclude arrive at, ascertain, assume, believe, collect, conjecture, construe, deduce, derive, draw, draw inference, figure, figure out, gather, glean, guess, induce, interpret, intuit, judge, presume, presuppose, reach conclusion, read… …   New thesaurus

  • infer — verb (inferred; inferring) Etymology: Middle French or Latin; Middle French inferer, from Latin inferre, literally, to carry or bring into, from in + ferre to carry more at bear Date: 1528 transitive verb 1. to derive as a conclusion from facts… …   New Collegiate Dictionary