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

Teen Vogue chatted with Rosemary about the future of Nike and what the brand is doing to embolden the next generation of female athletes. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Nike’s Rosemary St. Clair on How The Brand Will Change The Future of Sports for Women," 17 Apr. 2019 The divisive terms of XXXTentacion’s rise only seemed to embolden his devoted followers. Jon Caramanica, New York Times, "XXXTentacion, Rising Rapper Accused of Violence, Shot Dead at 20," 18 June 2018 North Korea unleashed WannaCry ransomware on the world a year ago, and has been continually emboldened online. Brian Barrett, WIRED, "White House Cuts Critical Cybersecurity Role as Threats Loom," 15 May 2018 Arizona teachers, who by some measures are the lowest paid in the country, are emboldened by the recent nine-day strike in West Virginia, which teachers used to successfully demand 5 percent raises. Ryan Randazzo, azcentral, "State revenues are up — Will Gov. Ducey and lawmakers offer Arizona teachers more cash?," 9 Mar. 2018 Would the crown prince feel sufficiently emboldened and protected by the president to retaliate? WSJ, "Secretary Pompeo Is Far Too Forgiving of the Saudis," 3 Dec. 2018 There were reasons for both sides to be emboldened by Tuesday’s results. Zeke Miller, The Seattle Times, "AP VoteCast: Trump a dominant force on voters’ minds," 7 Nov. 2018 The attorney general’s action is also likely to embolden critics who have accused Trump of flouting legal norms. Danny Hakim, BostonGlobe.com, "N.Y. sues Trump Foundation over way it used funds," 15 June 2018 Trump’s withdrawal last week from the Iran nuclear deal, against the protestations of European allies, appears to have emboldened both Israel and Iran to move more forcefully toward full-on confrontation. Josh Lederman And Matthew Lee, Time, "Jerusalem Embassy, Gaza Bloodshed Puts Trump's Mideast Promise at Risk," 14 May 2018

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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Statistics for embolden

Last Updated

21 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for embolden

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

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English Language Learners Definition of embolden

: to make (someone) more confident

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