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

Though his practices were certainly controversial in the medical community, Dr. Sebi is remembered as a wellness pioneer who encouraged Black people to regain control over their health. Jasmine Grant, Essence, "Dr. Sebi's Daughter Kelli Bowman Gives 5 Tips For Black Women To Get Healthier," 12 Sep. 2019 In the past month, agents have interviewed cabdrivers who said they were encouraged to take on huge debt under exploitative terms in order to buy a taxi medallion, the city permit that allowed them to own their own cab. BostonGlobe.com, "Federal investigation targets a loan system crushing New York cabdrivers - The Boston Globe," 11 Sep. 2019 In the past month, agents have interviewed cabdrivers who said they were encouraged to take on massive debt under exploitative terms in order to buy a taxi medallion, the city permit that allowed them to own their own cab. New York Times, "A $1.7 Million Loan, $30,000 in Income. Prosecutors Are Now Investigating.," 10 Sep. 2019 Lauren Barnes, 17, was encouraged by a friend to join, and Zachary Jilg was looking for a summer job. Jamie Swinnerton, Houston Chronicle, "The Woodlands lifeguards shine bright in summer competitions," 10 Sep. 2019 Some 90 million people have relocated from rural areas since 2012, encouraged by better job prospects and policies aimed at giving migrant workers social welfare that's more akin to urban dwellers. chicagotribune.com, "The unlikely Chinese cities where house prices rival London," 10 Sep. 2019 The impulse of comparison is encouraged by the very nature of sports. Rob Mahoney, SI.com, "Top 100 NBA Players of 2020: Inside the Process," 9 Sep. 2019 Thompkins hadn’t particularly wanted to play football as a kid but had been encouraged by his father to sign up. Alex Putterman, courant.com, "Need for speed: Agile running back Art Thompkins provides turbo boost UConn lacked," 5 Sep. 2019 This year, guests were feeling a touch blue — the favorite color of music director Michael Tilson Thomas — which they were encouraged to wear in the maestro’s honor. Tony Bravo, SFChronicle.com, "Fashion from the 2019 San Francisco Symphony Gala," 4 Sep. 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

15 Sep 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).


to make a temporary encampment

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