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 on-line conversation provides.— Richard A. Lanham

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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 And the airstrikes will embolden the pro-Iranian blocs in parliament to push again for the expulsion of US forces from Iraq. Tim Lister, CNN, "A proxy war between the US and Iran just moved a step closer," 30 Dec. 2019 But that’s what social media has created: emboldened keyboard warriors. Nick Schwartz, For The Win, "Dwyane Wade defends his son's free expression in beautiful display of fatherly love," 1 Dec. 2019 Now Iran has been even more emboldened, with its latest attacks on international shipping and against Saudi Arabia’s most important oil facilities demonstrating a dangerous escalation of the confrontation. Amanda Makki, National Review, "Remember the Hostage Crisis," 4 Nov. 2019 The 35-14 defeat to the Badgers emboldened Harbaugh’s most vocal detractors who claim Michigan, under his leadership, can’t beat elite competition and has been unable to gain a foothold in the sport’s upper tier. Rainer Sabin, Detroit Free Press, "While defending his player, Michigan football's Jim Harbaugh answers own critics," 22 Oct. 2019 That ruling will likely embolden Republican state lawmakers to entrench their legislative majorities even more aggressively after next year’s census, especially in the states already sliding toward illiberal democracy. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "The Supreme Court Steps to the Right," 1 July 2019 In Booksmart, the break-up anthem is used to embolden an introvert (Kaitlyn Dever) on the eve of her high-school graduation. Mara Reinstein, Billboard, "The 10 Best Music Moments in 2019 Movies," 18 Dec. 2019 The marchers appear to be emboldened by the biggest national strike-and-protest movement in years, which began Thursday and continued into the weekend, against President Emmanuel Macron's redesign of the pension system. Washington Post, "World Digest: Dec. 7, 2019," 7 Dec. 2019 The marchers appear to be emboldened by the biggest national demonstrations in years Thursday that kicked off a mass strike-and-protest movement against President Emmanuel Macron’s redesign of the pension system. Time, "Thousands of Yellow Vest Activists Join French Pension Protests Amid Police Tension," 7 Dec. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of embolden

15th century, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for embolden

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for embolden

Last Updated

15 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Embolden.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/embolden. Accessed 21 January 2020.

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More Definitions for embolden


How to pronounce embolden (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of embolden

: to make (someone) more confident

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Comments on embolden

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good-natured easy friendliness

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