Definition of construe in English:

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Pronunciation: /kənˈstro͞o/

verb (construes, construing, construed)

[with object]
1Interpret (a word or action) in a particular way: his words could hardly be construed as an apology
More example sentences
  • I find it difficult to see how those words could be construed as a dismissal of the committee's recommendations.
  • He thought that if the words were construed as including the specific needs of a disabled child it would be necessary in every such case to determine what that child's specific needs were.
  • While, in the first instance, a consolidating Act is to be construed in the same way as any other, if real doubt as to its legal meaning arises, its words are to be construed as if they remained in the earlier Act.
interpret, understand, read, see, take, take to mean, regard
1.1 dated Analyze the syntax of (a text, sentence, or word): both verbs can be construed with either infinitive
More example sentences
  • Alternatively, the verb might be construed with the direct object ‘life’.
  • And explaining how to construe a sentence spoils its effect, just as explaining the punch line of a joke does.
  • All we need to do is to construe each action sentence as involving an implicit existential quantification, with the variable of quantification taking events as its possible values.
1.2 dated Translate (a passage or author) word for word, typically aloud.



Example sentences
  • His warm words, including a line construable as retaining the possibility of a referendum before the election, were perhaps just a sop to frustrated pro-euro people in his party, in business and on the continent.
  • Consequently, if his utterance is reasonably construable as an anti-Semitic one, he shouldn't be too severely blamed for that, or so I think anyway.
  • This masked man had just fired two bullets at her, an act construable as Attempted Murder, which fits that category of crimes known as ‘heinous felonies against the person.’


Pronunciation: /-ˈstro͞oəl/
Example sentences
  • As I see it, the way forward is to develop and test particular narrative construals of Scripture.
  • Finally, I think I'll stick with ‘seminiscient’ as an apt term to describe the open theist construal of God's knowledge.
  • Might a certain construal of authorial discourse interpretation be hospitable to reading by non-scholars?


Late Middle English: from Latin construere (see construct), in late Latin 'analyze the construction of a sentence'.

Words that rhyme with construe

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For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: con·strue

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