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 The last decade shows how partisan gerrymandering can lead to less democratic accountability, encourage radicalization among House members, and hamstring the ability of Congress to govern. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "How to Fix the House of Representatives," 31 Dec. 2020 The purpose of the community funds is to support residents in taking ownership around the needs in their towns, encourage broad and inclusive civic engagement and anchor the Hartford Foundation in each town. courant.com, "Community News For The South Windsor Edition," 31 Dec. 2020 One of the main reasons, Indian health officials say, is that the country has managed to encourage and enforce almost universal acceptance of masks without much debate. Eric Bellman, WSJ, "Covid-19 Was Consuming India, Until Nearly Everyone Started Wearing Masks," 30 Dec. 2020 Having a comfortable space to work out will encourage you to move your body more this year, and if at-home workouts are on your list of resolutions, a good mat is a must. Emily Vanschmus, Better Homes & Gardens, "6 Wellness Gifts to Treat Yourself to in 2021," 30 Dec. 2020 Kim says parents can encourage kids to use measuring cups and ask them to double, quadruple or halve recipes. Erin Chan Ding, Family, "How to keep kids engaged over the holiday break," 17 Dec. 2020 The games encourage storytelling and bonding and provide the perfect ice-breakers and fun distraction at an IRL or online party. Olivia Harrison, refinery29.com, "How Tragos Became Our Favorite Tabletop Game, Both Online & IRL," 11 Dec. 2020 The group is made up of prominent Black athletes and artists who used their social media channels to encourage and educate their followers on how to cast a ballot for this year's election. Ben Morse, CNN, "LeBron James named TIME's 2020 Athlete of the Year," 10 Dec. 2020 The Trillion Trees and Natural Carbon Storage Act would create a nonprofit organization to encourage and accept private donations in support of international reforestation, restoration, and deforestation prevention efforts. Abby Smith, Washington Examiner, "Daily on Energy, presented by API: Kerry spells out climate diplomacy aims," 10 Dec. 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

14 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Encourage.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/encourage. Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

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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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