em·​bold·​en | \ im-ˈbōl-dən How to pronounce embolden (audio) \
emboldened; emboldening; emboldens

Definition of embolden

transitive verb

: to impart boldness or courage to : to instill with boldness, courage, or resolution enough to overcome timidity or misgiving Great leaders embolden the rest of us to rise to our highest potentialities, to be active, insistent and resolute in affirming our own sense of things.— Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. … being near her twin did seem to embolden her, to loosen her tongue.— John Updike … other voices too timid to speak in class are often emboldened by the different and more protected role an online conversation provides.— Richard A. Lanham

Choose the Right Synonym for embolden

encourage, inspirit, hearten, embolden mean to fill with courage or strength of purpose. encourage suggests the raising of one's confidence especially by an external agency. the teacher's praise encouraged the students to greater efforts inspirit, somewhat literary, implies instilling life, energy, courage, or vigor into something. patriots inspirited the people to resist hearten implies the lifting of dispiritedness or despondency by an infusion of fresh courage or zeal. a hospital patient heartened by good news embolden implies the giving of courage sufficient to overcome timidity or reluctance. emboldened by her first success, she tried an even more difficult climb

Examples of embolden in a Sentence

his poor showing in his first swim meet just emboldened him to train even harder
Recent Examples on the Web This could be particularly damaging to Trump, and could perhaps embolden the Justice Department to take further action, as Barr likely has a wealth of knowledge from his time as attorney general. Daniel Strauss, The New Republic, 20 May 2022 But each of Putin’s escalations that are not met by direct Western force only serves to embolden him further. Michael Bociurkiw, CNN, 13 Apr. 2022 His steely 1-under 71 during the first round Thursday only seemed to embolden him. Will Graves, San Francisco Chronicle, 9 Apr. 2022 If the events of January 6, 2021, weren’t sufficient to embolden the likes of McCarthy and McConnell for more than a few days, could anything effect such a transformation? John Cassidy, The New Yorker, 22 Apr. 2022 Her stance could embolden the Kremlin by tying the bloc’s hands on any further measures against Russia, should Putin deploy even more inhumane war tactics in Ukraine. Washington Post, 19 Apr. 2022 In a statement released after the verdicts, Whitmer's office expressed concern that the outcome of the case may embolden future extremists. Arpan Lobo, Detroit Free Press, 8 Apr. 2022 Saudi Arabia and its Gulf neighbors have harbored anxieties about a potential deal, anticipating that a return to the 2015 nuclear agreement will embolden Iran to expand activities in the Middle East. Nadeen Ebrahim, CNN, 8 Apr. 2022 Special City Flea event by women, for women, to celebrate, support and embolden women. Luann Gibbs, The Enquirer, 3 Apr. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'embolden.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of embolden

15th century, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of embolden was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

25 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Embolden.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/embolden. Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on embolden

Nglish: Translation of embolden for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of embolden for Arabic Speakers


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