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 Professor Lam says the election results may embolden protesters to call for their other demands to be met. Amy Gunia / Hong Kong, Time, "Hong Kong's Democracy Parties Scored Big in Local Elections. Here's What That Means for Their Movement," 25 Nov. 2019 The minority Muslims fear that the court verdict will embolden Hindu hard-liners in the country. Washington Post, "Hindus rejoice, Muslims deplore India court ruling on temple," 10 Nov. 2019 Critics say those hurdles have only emboldened an expanding black market. Dennis Romero, NBC News, "California's cannabis black market has eclipsed its legal one," 20 Sep. 2019 Another fear is that evidence that genes play only a partial role could embolden people who insist being gay is a choice and who advocate tactics like conversion therapy. Robert Verbruggen, National Review, "Death of the ‘Gay Gene’," 3 Sep. 2019 Sarah Bloom Raskin, a former Fed board member, has warned that Fed rate cuts could embolden Trump to escalate trade battles for that very reason. Josh Boak, The Denver Post, "Trump says he’ll put 10% tariffs on remaining China imports," 1 Aug. 2019 The resulting outcry had emboldened women across the country to speak out about their own victimization; online, the hashtag #MeToo emerged. Jane Mayer, The New Yorker, "The Case of Al Franken," 22 July 2019 Its decision has emboldened provincial governors and regents and adds to the importance of regional elections to be held on June 27th. The Economist, "Why Indonesia is so bad at lawmaking," 21 June 2018 Trump officials countered that the deal emboldened Iranian activities that destabilize the Middle East and didn’t adequately address Iran’s ballistic missile program. Jonathan Tirone | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "Iran’s Nuclear Program," 15 Nov. 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

3 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Embolden.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/emboldens. Accessed 9 December 2019.

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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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