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 It was called the Thanksgiving Blood and Plasma Drive, and its main objective was to encourage residents who have recovered from the coronavirus to donate plasma to the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center to help others still fighting the virus. Liz Hardaway, ExpressNews.com, "‘Times are tough’ — That’s why they held a holiday giveaway on San Antonio’s East Side, with free flu shots and Thanksgiving meals with sides and fixings," 18 Nov. 2020 Rather, mental health awareness and growing the availability of resources is likely to encourage more people to step into the world of entrepreneurship. Arkansas Online, "Time for a necessary conversation," 15 Nov. 2020 Japan is trying to encourage mergers among its ailing regional banks by introducing a sweetener for those that cut costs. Mike Bird, WSJ, "The World Should Watch Japan’s Attempts to Save Its Struggling Banks," 13 Nov. 2020 Many of these Black lawyers would be right to encourage their children to become plumbers or mechanics. Washington Post, "How systemic racism affects financial choices: Readers respond to ‘Sincerely, Michelle’ series," 13 Nov. 2020 According to the staff report, the broader definition of shelters was to encourage as many people as possible to accept services that would help keep them safe during the pandemic. Gary Warth, San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego County plans webinars on zoning for homeless shelters," 10 Nov. 2020 The campaign has also urged allies to publicly encourage people to report evidence or firsthand accounts of suspicious voter activity. Anchorage Daily News, "Top Republicans back Trump’s efforts to discredit election results," 10 Nov. 2020 Tuesday's storm arrives as the Weather Service marks Winter Hazard Awareness Week to promote safety and encourage people to prepare for snow, cold and ice at home, on the roads and whenever outside. Matt Mckinney, Star Tribune, "Rain, sleet and snow pelt Twin Cities after balmy reprieve," 10 Nov. 2020 Part of the reason to send a weekly press release with names of violating businesses is to encourage residents to support businesses that are following the guidance and to avoid those that aren't, Hart said. Grace Schneider, The Courier-Journal, "Metro Louisville to quadruple COVID-19 health inspections, add undercover visits," 10 Nov. 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

22 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Encourage.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/encourage. Accessed 1 Dec. 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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