Infer, meaning to deduce or conclude something by reasoning, is many times confused with imply, meaning something that is suggested, intimated or hinted at.
Interesting though that at one time infer meant:
Etymology: < Latin inferre to bear, bring, or carry in, to inflict, make (war), to cause, occasion, to introduce; in medieval Latin, to infer; < in- (IN- prefix2) + ferre to bear. Compare French inférer to allege, show, infer (16th cent.).
a. trans. To bring on, bring about, induce, occasion, cause, procure; to bring upon (a person, etc.), to inflict; to wage (war) upon. Obs.
c1540 A. BORDE Bk. for to Lerne C iv a Immoderat slepe..doth induce and infarre [1542 —— Dyetary viii. (1870) 245 infer] breuyte of lyfe.
†b. To confer, bestow. Obs.
1589 T. NASHE Anat. Absurditie Epist. ⁋iij What ever content felicitie or Fortune may enferre.
†c. with compl. To cause to be; to make, render. Obs.rare.
†2. To bring in, introduce (in discourse or writing); to mention, report, relate, tell; to bring forward (as an argument, etc.), adduce, allege. (With simple obj., or more rarely obj. clause.) Obs.
a1529 J. SKELTON Magnyfycence (?1530) sig. Aii Somwhat I coulde enferreyour consayte to debarre.
Careful writers do make a distinction when infer is confused with imply and a few dictionaries considered it incorrect usage.
4. To lead to (something) as a conclusion; to involve as a consequence; to imply. (Said of a fact or statement; sometimes, of the person who makes the statement.)
This use is widely considered to be incorrect, esp. with a person as the subject .
( Bold emphasis my own)
(Bold emphasis my own)
There is a distinction in meaning between infer and imply. In the sentence the speaker implied that the General had been a traitor, implied means that the speaker subtly suggested that this man was a traitor (though nothing so explicit was actually stated). However, in we inferred from his words that the General had been a traitor, inferred means that something in the speaker’s words enabled the listeners to deduce that the man was a traitor. The two words infer and imply can describe the same event, but from different angles. Use of infer to mean imply, as in are you inferring that I’m a liar? (instead of are you implying that I’m a liar?), is an extremely common error.