en·​cour·​age | \ in-ˈkər-ij How to pronounce encourage (audio) , -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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web John Oakes, an organizer, said the events will encourage social distancing and face coverings. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "WWII anniversary, liquor boom, tracking app: News from around our 50 states," 5 Sep. 2020 Pochapin also notes that some in the medical community now encourage people to begin colon cancer screenings at age 45, and even earlier if there is any family history. Kara Warner, PEOPLE.com, "What to Know About Colon Cancer Following Chadwick Boseman's Tragic Death," 3 Sep. 2020 But its strategists also said that if economic data heads south quickly, that could encourage lawmakers to come together and approve an even bigger package than expected. Julia Horowitz, CNN, "Corporate America is getting more worried even as stocks soar," 1 Sep. 2020 Critics, including new-car dealers, say that allowing state registration will only encourage more southbound car trafficking. Wendy Fry, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Each year, thousands of California cars head to Mexico. Some get into trouble there," 29 Aug. 2020 Property owners also worry that letting a renter live in a unit for free or reduced rent could encourage other tenants in a building to withhold some of their payments. Noah Buhayar, Bloomberg.com, "Why a Historic Eviction Wave Is Bearing Down on the U.S.," 29 Aug. 2020 During the taxation debate, policymakers relied on research that made the absurd conclusion that taxing unemployment benefits would encourage people to look for work, according to a 2015 report by the Congressional Research Service. Michelle Singletary, Washington Post, "Yes, your unemployment benefit is taxable income. But it shouldn’t be.," 28 Aug. 2020 In 2018, legislators gave property owners the ability to move slightly inland, in hopes that not having to maintain a multi-tiered boat would encourage them to invest in new amenities. David Jacobs, Washington Examiner, "Louisiana casino revenue dips about 10 percent," 25 Aug. 2020 Some are concerned that the extra attention paid toward mail-in ballots will encourage more people to show up at the polls, which in turn will create much longer lines and a bigger safety concern for everyone. Laura Bassett, refinery29.com, "Poll Workers Are Scrambling To Save Our Democracy. How Did We Get Here?," 19 Aug. 2020

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for encourage

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for encourage

Last Updated

10 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Encourage.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/encourage. Accessed 22 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for encourage


How to pronounce encourage (audio)

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 How to pronounce encourage (audio) \
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.

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Comments on encourage

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