Definition of inference noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈɪnfərəns//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈɪnfərəns//
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  1. 1[countable] something that you can find out indirectly from what you already know synonym deduction to draw/make inferences from the data The clear inference is that the universe is expanding. CollocationsScientific researchTheory formulate/​advance a theory/​hypothesis build/​construct/​create/​develop a simple/​theoretical/​mathematical model develop/​establish/​provide/​use a theoretical/​conceptual framework advance/​argue/​develop the thesis that… explore an idea/​a concept/​a hypothesis make a prediction/​an inference base a prediction/​your calculations on something investigate/​evaluate/​accept/​challenge/​reject a theory/​hypothesis/​modelExperiment design an experiment/​a questionnaire/​a study/​a test do research/​an experiment/​an analysis make observations/​measurements/​calculations carry out/​conduct/​perform an experiment/​a test/​a longitudinal study/​observations/​clinical trials run an experiment/​a simulation/​clinical trials repeat an experiment/​a test/​an analysis replicate a study/​the results/​the findings observe/​study/​examine/​investigate/​assess a pattern/​a process/​a behaviour/(especially US English) a behavior fund/​support the research/​project/​study seek/​provide/​get/​secure funding for researchResults collect/​gather/​extract data/​information yield data/​evidence/​similar findings/​the same results analyse/​examine the data/​soil samples/​a specimen consider/​compare/​interpret the results/​findings fit the data/​model confirm/​support/​verify a prediction/​a hypothesis/​the results/​the findings prove a conjecture/​hypothesis/​theorem draw/​make/​reach the same conclusions read/​review the records/​literature describe/​report an experiment/​a study present/​publish/​summarize the results/​findings present/​publish/​read/​review/​cite a paper in a scientific journal
  2. 2[uncountable] the act or process of forming an opinion, based on what you already know If he is guilty then, by inference, so is his wife (= it is logical to think so, from the same evidence).
  3. Word Origin late 16th cent.: from medieval Latin inferentia, from inferent- ‘bringing in’, from the verb inferre ‘bring in, bring about’ (in medieval Latin ‘deduce’), from in- ‘into’ + ferre ‘bring’.Extra examples The value of data depends on our skill in drawing inferences from it. inferences based on their answers to a number of set questions If he is guilty then, by inference, so is his partner. There are certain inferences we can draw about the origins of language. What inferences can we draw from this data?
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: inference