To inform is to tell someone news, pass on wisdom, leak gossip, or give instruction. You've been informed that you won the raffle at the county fair. What are you going to do with all that cheese?

The Latin verb infōrmāre means "to form or shape." The idea of passing on knowledge came about in the 14th Century, with the meaning of "teaching or instructing" coming later. Thomas Jefferson, who believed democracy to be impossible without informed citizens, said, “Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.”

Definitions of inform
  1. verb
    impart knowledge of some fact, state or affairs, or event to
    “I informed him of his rights”
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    wise up
    cause someone to become aware of something
    instruct, learn, teach
    impart skills or knowledge to
    apprise, apprize, instruct
    make aware of
    introduce an idea or attitude into the mind of
    notify, usually in advance
    fill in
    supply with information on a specific topic
    bring up to date; supply with recent information
    misinform, mislead
    give false or misleading information to
    downplay, minimise, minimize, understate
    represent as less significant or important
    betray, denounce, give away, grass, rat, shop, snitch, stag, tell on
    give away information about somebody
    free from deception or illusion
    notify of danger, potential harm, or risk
    advise, apprise, apprize, give notice, notify, send word
    inform (somebody) of something
    acquaint, familiarise, familiarize
    make familiar or conversant with
    cue, prompt, remind
    assist (somebody acting or reciting) by suggesting the next words of something forgotten or imperfectly learned
    tell voluntarily
    acquaint, introduce, present
    cause to come to know personally
    express with regret
    designate, indicate, point, show
    indicate a place, direction, person, or thing; either spatially or figuratively
    to state or express briefly
    indicate, suggest
    suggest the necessity of an intervention; in medicine
    inform or spy (for the police)
    explain, explicate
    make plain and comprehensible
    let something be known
    narrate, recite, recount, tell
    narrate or give a detailed account of
    provide commentary for a film, for example
    account, describe, report
    to give an account or representation of in words
    make known to the authorities
    cover, report
    be responsible for reporting the details of, as in journalism
    announce, denote
    make known; make an announcement
    free somebody (from an erroneous belief)
    point out, remonstrate
    present and urge reasons in opposition
    bear witness, evidence, prove, show, testify
    provide evidence for
    develop, educate, prepare, train
    create by training and teaching
    teach doctrines to; teach uncritically
    teach by repetition
    give directions to; point somebody into a certain direction
    digress, divagate, stray, wander
    lose clarity or turn aside especially from the main subject of attention or course of argument in writing, thinking, or speaking
    catechise, catechize
    give religious instructions to
    reinforce, reward
    strengthen and support with rewards
    teach without challenging the students
    attest, certify, demonstrate, evidence, manifest
    provide evidence for; stand as proof of; show by one's behavior, attitude, or external attributes
    point out or draw attention to in protest or remonstrance
    introduce or initiate
    serve as a teacher or trusted counselor
    be a tutor to someone; give individual instruction
    cause to disbelieve; teach someone the contrary of what he or she had learned earlier
    cause to unlearn
    instruct someone in the fundamentals of a subject
    lecture, talk
    deliver a lecture or talk
    give essential information to someone
    coach, train
    teach and supervise (someone); act as a trainer or coach (to), as in sports
    tell an untruth; pretend with intent to deceive
    beat around the bush, equivocate, palter, prevaricate, tergiversate
    be deliberately ambiguous or unclear in order to mislead or withhold information
    amplify, exaggerate, hyperbolise, hyperbolize, magnify, overdraw, overstate
    to enlarge beyond bounds or the truth
    trivialise, trivialize
    make trivial or insignificant
    downplay one's ability (towards others) in a game in order to deceive, as in gambling
    announce the termination of, as of treaties
    betray, deceive, lead astray
    cause someone to believe an untruth
    forewarn, previse
    warn in advance or beforehand; give an early warning
    admonish, caution, monish
    warn strongly; put on guard
    to utter intentions of injury or punishment against:"He threatened me when I tried to call the police"
    alarm, alert
    warn or arouse to a sense of danger or call to a state of preparedness
    familiarize (someone) with new surroundings or circumstances
    familiarize through thorough study or experience
    familiarize anew
    get into
    familiarize oneself thoroughly with
    re-introduce, reintroduce
    introduce anew
    formally present a debutante, a representative of a country, etc.
    announce for a score; of cards in a card game
    bespeak, betoken, indicate, point, signal
    be a signal for or a symptom of
    read, record, register, show
    indicate a certain reading; of gauges and instruments
    indicate the presence of (game) by standing and pointing with the muzzle
    indicate the fingering for the playing of musical scores for keyboard instruments
    call attention, point out, signalise, signalize
    point out carefully and clearly
    break, bring out, disclose, discover, divulge, expose, give away, let on, let out, reveal, unwrap
    make known to the public information that was previously known only to a few people or that was meant to be kept a secret
    sell out
    give information that compromises others
    interpret, rede
    give an interpretation or explanation to
    account for
    give reasons for
    explain with reference to nature
    clarify, clear up, elucidate
    make clear and (more) comprehensible
    spill, talk
    reveal information
    give an account of
    tell spontaneously
    tell or spin a yarn
    rhapsodise, rhapsodize
    recite a rhapsody
    evidence, tell
    give evidence
    air, bare, publicise, publicize
    make public
    ingeminate, iterate, reiterate, repeat, restate, retell
    to say, state, or perform again
    announce one's presence
    announce as the result of an investigation or experience or finding
    propagandise, propagandize
    subject to propaganda
    announce, annunciate, foretell, harbinger, herald
    foreshadow or presage
    blazon out, cry
    proclaim or announce in public
    trump, trump out
    proclaim or announce with or as if with a fanfare
    blare out, blat out
    announce loudly
    call out
    call out loudly, as of names or numbers
    advertise, advertize, publicise, publicize
    call attention to
    edify, enlighten
    make understand
    publicize with, or as if with, a poster
    constitute reasonable evidence for
    abduce, adduce, cite
    advance evidence for
    explain or interpret something
    make known with a word or signal
    bring out, introduce
    bring before the public for the first time, as of an actor, song, etc.
    indicate a decision in regard to
    be sorry; used to introduce an unpleasant statement
    manifest or bring back
    announce by means of a sound
    give, impart, leave, pass on
    transmit (knowledge or skills)
    establish a conditioned response
    type of:
    communicate, intercommunicate
    transmit thoughts or feelings
  2. verb
    act as an informer
    “She had informed on her own parents for years”
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    evidence, tell
    give evidence
  3. verb
    give character or essence to
    “The principles that inform modern teaching”
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    type of:
    alter, change, modify
    cause to change; make different; cause a transformation
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