en·cour·age | \in-ˈkər-ij, -ˈkə-rij, en-\
encouraged; encouraging

Definition of encourage 

transitive verb

1a : to inspire with courage, spirit, or hope : hearten she was encouraged to continue by her early success

b : to attempt to persuade : urge they encouraged him to go back to school

2 : to spur on : stimulate warm weather encourages plant growth

3 : to give help or patronage to : foster government grants designed to encourage conservation

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from encourage

encourager noun

Choose the Right Synonym for encourage

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 encourage in a Sentence

They encouraged us in our work. Encourage each other with kind words. The program is meant to encourage savings. Warm weather encourages plant growth. He claims the new regulations will encourage investment. He claims the new regulations will encourage people to invest. We want to encourage students to read more. My parents encouraged me to go back to college. They encouraged her to go.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Americans in the region, however, are encouraged to keep a low profile should the protests turn violent. Editors, USA TODAY, "Trump visits Queen Elizabeth II, Wimbledon semifinals, Supermoon Solar Eclipse: 5 things to know Friday," 13 July 2018 The Olympics were previously reserved for Kolache Factory employees, but this year, customers were encouraged to participate. Julian Gill, Houston Chronicle, "Katy father of two wins coveted prize for kolache creation," 13 July 2018 Homeowners are encouraged to reach out to the nonprofit for help. Katrease Stafford, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit home tax foreclosures: Why they've dropped dramatically," 13 July 2018 Over the last two days, in England, fans were encouraged to go to work on Wednesday wearing waistcoats in honor of the team’s manager, Gareth Southgate. Rory Smith, New York Times, "Four Countries. Two Games. One Goal.," 12 July 2018 Anyone with information is encouraged to call Phoenix Police Department at 602-534-2121. Kimberly Rapanut, azcentral, "85-year-old Phoenix man goes missing; Silver Alert issued," 12 July 2018 Organizations interested in participating in the social media platform email are encouraged to email devcoord@milwaukee.gov or leave a message with the Workforce Development Office at (414) 286-3552. Ahmed Elbenni, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Aldermen unveil new app to help combat unemployment in Milwaukee," 12 July 2018 Due to the crowds of spectators, individuals are encouraged to arrive a half hour before sunset to find a space suitable for viewing Manhattanhenge. Renae Reints, Fortune, "This Is Your Last Chance to Experience Manhattanhenge in 2018," 12 July 2018 The therapists have a background in treating trauma and aren’t required to have experience treating veterans but are encouraged to participate in training about military culture, said Nancy Rice, chief operating officer. courant.com, "Veterans’ Families Also Suffer From The Wounds Of War," 12 July 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of encourage

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for encourage

Middle English encoragen, from Anglo-French encorager, from en- + curage courage

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about encourage

Statistics for encourage

Last Updated

13 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for encourage

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for encourage



English Language Learners Definition of encourage

: to make (someone) more determined, hopeful, or confident

: to make (something) more appealing or more likely to happen

: to make (someone) more likely to do something : to tell or advise (someone) to do something


en·cour·age | \in-ˈkər-ij \
encouraged; encouraging

Kids Definition of encourage

1 : make more determined, hopeful, or confident : hearten Cheering fans encouraged the team.

2 : to give help or support to : aid Warm weather encourages plant growth.

Other Words from encourage

encouragingly adverb “Great job,” she said encouragingly.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on encourage

What made you want to look up encourage? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


lying above or upon

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!