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

Guests are encouraged to buy tickets in advance to avoid waiting in line at the gate. Candice Terrell, Fierce Marketing, Cincinnati.com, "Charm at the Farm is back for 2019," 19 June 2019 Although the scholarship’s collaborators use she/her/hers pronouns, applicants who use they/them/theirs are still encouraged to apply, according to the website. Kynala Phillips, Essence, "The Black Girl 44 Scholarship Is Leveling The Internship Playing Field," 19 June 2019 When a Catholic church in Vega Baja, Puerto Rico, was heavily damaged during Hurricane Maria in 2017, members of a Park Ridge parish were encouraged to help fund its rebuilding as part of their Lenten alms-giving. Jennifer Johnson, chicagotribune.com, "Park Ridge church representatives see fruits of charitable giving in Puerto Rico," 18 June 2019 Attendees are encouraged to wear their bathing suits. Laura Latzko, azcentral, "Suds & Slides: It's like summer camp for adults. With beer.," 18 June 2019 Visitors are encouraged to ride a shuttle to the park due to limited parking for private vehicles. USA TODAY, "Mural for missing women, ‘Jedi’ cremations, MRI party: News from around our 50 states," 18 June 2019 Judges are encouraged, however, to use their discretion when setting bonds, officials from Pretrial Services have said. Emily Lane, nola.com, "CVS police shootout suspects detained employees with zip ties, filled trash bag with pills: NOPD," 18 June 2019 Women are encouraged to save their best outfits for Ladies' Day, a long-lasting tradition which has become a highlight of the social calendar. Ben Church, CNN, "Royal Ascot 2019: A summer spectacle with the royal seal of approval," 17 June 2019 Visitors are encouraged to touch and feel the objects. Rosemarie Dowell, orlandosentinel.com, "Smithsonian’s ‘Hometown Teams’ exhibit at Leesburg library celebrates America’s fascination for sports," 17 June 2019

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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Learn More about encourage

Statistics for encourage

Last Updated

23 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for encourage

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

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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 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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