Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To impart information to; make aware of something: We were informed by mail of the change in plans. The nurse informed me that visiting hours were over.
  • transitive v. To acquaint (oneself) with knowledge of a subject.
  • transitive v. To give form or character to; imbue with a quality or an essence: "A society's strength is measured by . . . its ability to inform a future generation with its moral standards” ( Vanity Fair).
  • transitive v. To be a pervasive presence in; animate: "It is this brash, backroom sensibility that informs his work as a novelist” ( Jeff Shear).
  • transitive v. Obsolete To form (the mind or character) by teaching or training.
  • intransitive v. To give or provide information.
  • intransitive v. To disclose confidential or incriminating information to an authority: The defendant informed against the other members of the ring.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To instruct, train (usually in matters of knowledge)
  • v. To communicate knowledge to (an)other(s).
  • v. To impart information or knowledge.
  • v. To act as an informer; denounce.
  • v. To give form or character to; to inspire (with a given quality); to affect, influence (with a pervading principle, idea etc.).
  • v. To make known, wisely and/or knowledgeably.
  • v. To direct, guide.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Without regular form; shapeless; ugly; deformed.
  • transitive v. To give form or share to; to give vital or organizing power to; to give life to; to imbue and actuate with vitality; to animate; to mold; to figure; to fashion.
  • transitive v. To communicate knowledge to; to make known to; to acquaint; to advise; to instruct; to tell; to notify; to enlighten; -- usually followed by of.
  • transitive v. To communicate a knowledge of facts to, by way of accusation; to warn against anybody.
  • transitive v. To take form; to become visible or manifest; to appear.
  • transitive v. To give intelligence or information; to tell.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To impart form or essence to, the object of the verb denoting some kind of matter, and the result being the production of a thing of some definite kind; determine the character or quality of; hence, to animate; actuate.
  • To enlighten; teach; instruct; advise: as, to inform one how he should proceed.
  • To communicate information to; acquaint with facts; apprise.
  • To make known; disclose; tell of or about.
  • To guide; direct.
  • Synonyms To inspire, quicken.
  • 2 and Of inform of: To apprise of, signify, communicate, disclose, reveal, acquaint with, advise of, notify or notify of, teach.
  • To take form or shape; become visible.
  • To give intelligence or information: generally with against or on.
  • Without regular form; shapeless; deformed.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. impart knowledge of some fact, state or affairs, or event to
  • v. act as an informer
  • v. give character or essence to

Etymologies

Middle English enfourmen, informen, from Old French enfourmer, from Latin īnfōrmāre : in-, in; see in-2 + fōrmāre, to fashion (from fōrma, form).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English informen, enformen, from Old French enformer, informer ("to train, instruct, inform"), from Latin informare ("to shape, form, train, instruct, educate"), from in- ("into") + forma ("form, shape"), equivalent to in- +‎ form. (Wiktionary)

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