en·​gen·​der in-ˈjen-dər How to pronounce engender (audio)
engendered; engendering in-ˈjen-d(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce engender (audio)

transitive verb

: to cause to exist or to develop : produce
policies that have engendered controversy

intransitive verb

: to assume form : originate

Did you know?

A good paragraph about engender will engender understanding in the reader. Like its synonym generate, engender comes from the Latin verb generare, meaning “to generate” or “to beget,” and when the word was first used in the 14th century, engender meant “propagate” or “procreate.” That literal meaning having to do with creating offspring (which generate shared when it was adopted in the early 16th century) was soon joined by the “to cause to exist or develop; to produce” meaning most familiar to us today. Generare didn’t just engender generate and engender; regenerate, degenerate, and generation have the same Latin root. As you might suspect, the list of engender relatives does not end there. Generare comes from the Latin noun genus, meaning “origin” or “kind.” From this source we took our own word genus, plus gender, general, and generic, among other words.

Examples of engender in a Sentence

The issue has engendered a considerable amount of debate. a suggestion to go out for pizza that didn't seem to engender any interest
Recent Examples on the Web The policies engendered widespread discrimination against the Ainu people—so much so that even today some still hide their heritage. Danielle Demetriou, Condé Nast Traveler, 21 Nov. 2023 Generous returns policies at stores can engender customer loyalty and quell holiday shoppers' concerns of wasting money on unwanted gifts. Megan Cerullo, CBS News, 21 Nov. 2023 On the other side was Mr. Santos, who appealed to lawmakers to hold off on expulsion, saying that passing judgment without due process would engender mistrust. Kevin Freking and Stephen Groves, The Christian Science Monitor, 2 Nov. 2023 Ideally, companies want to engender just the opposite: early and frequent collaboration between engineers, product teams, and security leaders. Bylila MacLellan, Fortune, 2 Nov. 2023 The approach was inspired by the Black Panthers and sought to mend the divisions engendered by gang life. Hua Hsu, The New Yorker, 23 Oct. 2023 For some, this discovery has engendered dreams of otherworldly life. Robin George Andrews, BostonGlobe.com, 8 Aug. 2023 The assault has so far left more than 700 dead in the country, according to Israeli health officials, and is expected to engender a fierce response from the Israeli military, which has been involved in clashes with Palestinian militants in the occupied West Bank throughout the year. Tal Axelrod, ABC News, 9 Oct. 2023 Those who doubt the supremacy of the ballot over the bullet can never diminish the power engendered by non-violent struggles for justice and equality, like the one that made this day possible. Kate Hogan, Peoplemag, 29 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'engender.' 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 engendren, from Anglo-French engendrer, from Latin ingenerare, from in- + generare to generate

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of engender was in the 14th century


Dictionary Entries Near engender

Cite this Entry

“Engender.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/engender. Accessed 29 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


en·​gen·​der in-ˈjen-dər How to pronounce engender (audio)
engendered; engendering -d(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce engender (audio)
: to reproduce offspring
: to be the source or cause of : produce
tensions that engender emotional conflicts

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