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 In 1970, Milton Friedman wrote an op-ed that would embolden investors and enrage activists for decades. Michael O'leary, Fortune, "Investors are starting to demand better of the companies they own," 27 Dec. 2020 On the other side of the isle, Iraq veteran Sen. Tammy Duckworth said the withdrawal would embolden the Taliban. Michael Lee, Washington Examiner, "US on track to meet Trump's Afghanistan drawdown target despite resistance from lawmakers," 21 Dec. 2020 Concessions did nothing but embolden the agents of terror. Matthew Continetti, National Review, "There’s No Reason for Biden to Reward Iran," 19 Dec. 2020 Companies must understand that the number one goal of health tech, unlike other tech, is not to engage and immerse patients in their phones but to support and embolden them in their real lives. Payal Marathe, STAT, "The mental health dilemma: If technology is the problem, can it also be the solution?," 8 Dec. 2020 Iran accused Israel of being behind the slaying, which seems certain to embolden Iranian hard-liners. Editorial Board Star Tribune, Star Tribune, "Diplomacy is still the key to curbing Iran," 30 Nov. 2020 Some Afghan officials concerned by the swifter withdrawal point to violence already rising across Afghanistan since the signing of the U.S.-Taliban deal, fearing that pulling more troops out faster will only further embolden the Taliban. Washington Post, "The United States has closed at least 10 bases around Afghanistan. But drawdown details remain murky.," 27 Nov. 2020 The moves sparked concern on Capitol Hill that perceived instability at the Pentagon could embolden U.S. adversaries during the presidential transition. Tom Vanden Brook, USA TODAY, "Turmoil at Pentagon as President Trump shakes up leadership team, 'something that should alarm all Americans'," 11 Nov. 2020 As the president and his domestic allies continue to put forward unfounded claims of widespread election fraud, there are warnings that this show of intransigence could embolden anti-democratic forces elsewhere in the world. Laura King, Los Angeles Times, "Biden’s win poses a dilemma for world leaders who went all-in on Trump," 10 Nov. 2020

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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Last Updated

13 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Embolden.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/embolden. Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

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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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