en·​cour·​age in-ˈkər-ij How to pronounce encourage (audio)
encouraged; encouraging

transitive verb

: to inspire with courage, spirit, or hope : hearten
she was encouraged to continue by her early success
: to attempt to persuade : urge
they encouraged him to go back to school
: to spur on : stimulate
warm weather encourages plant growth
: to give help or patronage to : foster
government grants designed to encourage conservation
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.
Recent Examples on the Web As employers contemplate entering the child care realm, Ms. Melvin encourages them to find out what their workers want. Jackie Valley, The Christian Science Monitor, 21 May 2024 Lucky Jupiter will also enter this area of your chart on May 25, encouraging you to embrace change and release old patterns that aren’t serving you. Valerie Mesa, Peoplemag, 21 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for encourage 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'encourage.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near encourage

Cite this Entry

“Encourage.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/encourage. Accessed 26 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


en·​cour·​age in-ˈkər-ij How to pronounce encourage (audio)
encouraged; encouraging
: to cause to feel courage, spirit, or hope
encouraged by her kind words
: to try to persuade
encouraged him to go back to school
: to spur on : stimulate
: to give help to : foster
government grants to encourage young artists
warm weather encourages plant growth

More from Merriam-Webster on encourage

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