3

import {noun}:

1. (usually imports) A commodity, article, or service brought in from abroad for sale:

2. [in singular] The implicit meaning or significance of something

How do 'importance' and definition 2 of 'import' differ? I ask not about definition 1 above that 'importance' lacks.

0

6 Answers 6

2

Import is rarely used to mean "significance" outside of formal/academic writing. Importance is used for this purpose in nearly all cases.

This isn't simply a difference between casual conversation and formal writing. I'm a reasonably well spoken and well read native speaker of American English who is not afraid of using my vocabulary, and I would be surprised if I had ever used that meaning in conversation before. Importance is far more common, probably even in formal and academic writing. In modern writing, import seems to be used as a way of making writing sound more sophisticated or in fiction, to make a character seem pompous.

1

"importance" is the normal word. In elevated or literary style you can find "import"(stress on the first syllable): Yes, it is a matter of 'import. (I have read it only once in a SF-novel.)

1
  • How's 'importance' more normal than 'import'? Sci Fi's use of language may differ?
    – user8712
    Commented May 20, 2015 at 22:13
0

"Importance" is the widely accepted word for something of significant meaning as "import" is usually associated with the bringing in of goods. However, both are perfectly alright to use.

1
  • Sorry, but it’s unclear to me how this answers my question. I already confirmed my knowledge that "import" is usually associated with the bringing in of goods.
    – user8712
    Commented May 20, 2015 at 22:12
0

I have heard people use import in scientific conferences like 'what is the scientific import of your observations'? In this case it means significance

0

I just wrote a formal e-mail where I said:

"please feel free to disclose anything of import".

Personally, I think "import" sounded better melodically- it was a purely stylistic choice. I think in terms of meaning, however, both "of importance" and "of import" are exactly the same. So pick the one that flows best in the sentence you are writing!

0

Firstly, I'm not a native speaker but from personal experience the word "import" is most often used in the meaning "A commodity, article, or service brought in from abroad for sale" and less often used in the meaning "The implicit meaning or significance of something".

As synonyms "import" and "importance" aren't quite interchangeable but share common meanings. The word "import" carries more than is given by the definition you refer to. From practice, the word "import" implies several definitions (especially 'of import'):

  • intended to bring significant value
  • has important effects or influence
  • a meaning that is not expressly stated but can be inferred

Thus knowing this we can understand the following examples as:

  1. He's the guy of import in the company. - He's the one who brings significant value or (and) exerts his influence in the company
  2. Nothing of import, My Lord. - Nothing significant
  3. A quick import of his speech was ready in ten minutes. - An implication of his speech: the meaning that is not expressly stated but can be inferred
  4. The raise of import of the company in the area comes from its employees. - The company gets its influence raise in the area from the good work of its employees.

You must log in to answer this question.