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

Iguana owners who can no longer care for their pets are encouraged by the wildlife commission to surrender them to the agency under an Exotic Pet Amnesty Program that lines up the animals with people willing to adopt them. Washington Post, "Reptile invasion: Florida agency encourages killing iguanas," 3 July 2019 To save time on the return trip, passengers are encouraged to buy a Day Pass or utilize the new Caltrain mobile app. Patrick May, The Mercury News, "How to get, from San Francisco’s July 4 fireworks spectacular — without a car," 3 July 2019 Anyone with information about the incident is encouraged to call the Racine police at (262) 635-7756. Keith Schubert, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "One man dead after a hit-and-run crash in Racine early Wednesday morning," 3 July 2019 Once the war began, such paranoid chatter was encouraged by George Creel’s Committee on Public Information, which whipped up a nationwide wave of anti-German hysteria. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, "The “Star-Spangled Banner” Controversy That Altered the Course of American Music," 2 July 2019 Instead of shooting off fireworks in the streets, the public is encouraged to visit professional firework displays in San Antonio and surrounding areas. Jacob Beltran, ExpressNews.com, "Officials warn of fireworks dangers around unsupervised children and pets," 2 July 2019 What if they were encouraged to speak freely not about the emotional delicacies of their own experience of exile, but of what allowed them to operate that way at work in the first place? Lidija Haas, The New Republic, "Notes on Cancel Culture," 1 July 2019 The Runamuk Disc Dogs will perform, and a pet psychic will be on hand. While the event is free to the public, donations to help local animal shelters are encouraged. Chris Sims, Indianapolis Star, "Here's when pets can take their humans to IndyVet's Pet Carnival," 1 July 2019 Arthur also was encouraged by the lack of opposition from horse trainers and owners when state officials proposed new regulations during a June 20 meeting in Pleasanton. Ron Kroichick, SFChronicle.com, "Horse racing grapples with heavy issues in wake of Hollendorfer ban," 29 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

7 Jul 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

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


characterized by aphorism

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