im·​bibe | \ im-ˈbīb How to pronounce imbibe (audio) \
imbibed; imbibing

Definition of imbibe

transitive verb

1a : drink
b : to take in or up a sponge imbibes moisture
2a : to receive into the mind and retain imbibe moral principles
b : to assimilate or take into solution
3 archaic : soak, steep

intransitive verb

2a : to take in liquid
b : to absorb or assimilate moisture, gas, light, or heat

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Other Words from imbibe

imbiber noun

Examples of imbibe in a Sentence

She imbibed vast quantities of coffee. She never imbibes but isn't offended when others do.

Recent Examples on the Web

After imbibing too much at a party, an unhappily single woman falls into bed with the fiance of her best friend. Los Angeles Times, "Movies on TV this week Sept. 1 - 7, 2019: John Wayne in ‘The Searchers’ and more," 30 Aug. 2019 The most famous winery here, Summerhill, manifests a spiritual connection among man and nature and wine: all of its wines are aged in the winery’s landmark pyramid, so as to imbibe the energy imparted by the structure’s sacred geometry. Outside Online, "The Best Places to Savor Fall in British Columbia," 14 Aug. 2019 But only about a quarter of grass eaters were observed vomiting afterward, and 91% of respondents said their cat did not appear sick before imbibing plant matter. David Shultz, Science | AAAS, "Mystery solved? Why cats eat grass," 8 Aug. 2019 This means people dwelling near coastlines imbibe more 18O in their water than do those living inland. The Economist, "Who did the Maya sacrifice?," 1 Aug. 2019 While some freedom for Western behavior (imbibing homebrews, for instance) was allowed within Aramco’s compounds, in general Aramco’s expats had little choice but to behave as their Muslim peers behaved. Darren Dochuk, The New Republic, "Men of God and the Genesis of the U.S.-Saudi Relationship," 17 July 2019 On Burlingame Avenue, the main business district artery, people were shopping, dining, imbibing, strolling, biking and hobnobbing. John Horgan, The Mercury News, "Horgan: For solitary older adults, it takes a village," 10 July 2019 Delta previously had a mixed reputation with those looking to imbibe at 30,000 feet. Claudia Harmata,, "Sip in the Cheap Seats! Delta Airlines Announces Free Cocktails Are Coming to Some Economy Cabins," 2 July 2019 Passengers chowed down using recyclable or compostable serviceware and imbibed hot drinks from first-of-their-kind recyclable paper cups. Jasmin Malik Chua, Vox, "The best $3,000 I ever spent: training for my unruly dog," 9 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'imbibe.' 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 imbibe

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 3

History and Etymology for imbibe

Middle English enbiben to absorb, cause to absorb, from Latin imbibere to drink in, absorb, from in- + bibere to drink — more at potable

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Statistics for imbibe

Last Updated

13 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for imbibe

The first known use of imbibe was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of imbibe

formal + often humorous
: to drink (something)
: to drink alcohol

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More from Merriam-Webster on imbibe

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with imbibe

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for imbibe

Spanish Central: Translation of imbibe

Nglish: Translation of imbibe for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of imbibe for Arabic Speakers

Comments on imbibe

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


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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