im·​bue | \ im-ˈbyü How to pronounce imbue (audio) \
imbued; imbuing

Definition of imbue

transitive verb

1 : endow sense 3 Spanish missions imbue the city with Old World charm— Scott Pendleton
2 : to permeate or influence as if by dyeing the spirit that imbues the new constitution
3 : to tinge or dye deeply

Keep scrolling for more

Choose the Right Synonym for imbue

infuse, suffuse, imbue, ingrain, inoculate, leaven mean to introduce one thing into another so as to affect it throughout. infuse implies a pouring in of something that gives new life or significance. new members infused enthusiasm into the club suffuse implies a spreading through of something that gives an unusual color or quality. a room suffused with light imbue implies the introduction of a quality that fills and permeates the whole being. imbue students with intellectual curiosity ingrain, used only in the passive or past participle, suggests the deep implanting of a quality or trait. clung to ingrained habits inoculate implies an imbuing or implanting with a germinal idea and often suggests stealth or subtlety. an electorate inoculated with dangerous ideas leaven implies introducing something that enlivens, tempers, or markedly alters the total quality. a serious play leavened with comic moments

Imbue Has Old French Roots

Like its synonym infuse, imbue implies the introduction of one thing into another so as to affect it throughout. A nation can be imbued with pride, for example, or a photograph might be imbued with a sense of melancholy. In the past imbue has also been used synonymously with imbrue, an obscure word meaning "to drench or stain," but etymologists do not think the two words are related. Imbue derives from the Latin verb imbuere, meaning "to dye, wet, or moisten." Imbrue has been traced back through Anglo-French and Old French to the Latin verb bibere, meaning "to drink."

Examples of imbue in a Sentence

A feeling of optimism imbues her works. her training at the school for the deaf imbued her with a sense of purpose that she had never known before
Recent Examples on the Web Those kinds of faulty forms of driving would not be something an AI driving system is going to imbue. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 22 Sep. 2021 Canadians head to the polls today in a snap election that could bolster Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's position -- or imbue the country's government with bitter political polarization. Aj Willingham, CNN, 20 Sep. 2021 Astronauts and religious leaders attempted to imbue extraterrestrial pursuits with spiritual significance from the earliest days of spaceflight. Jackie Wattles, CNN, 15 Sep. 2021 Lieberson’s simple melody needs a singer to modulate the line with vowel sounds to imbue it with passion. San Diego Union-Tribune, 14 Sep. 2021 Because Update was inherently topical, the writing team, which was newly led by future Parks and Recreation and Good Place creator Michael Schur, struggled with how to properly imbue the dismal news cycle with levity. Andy Greene, Rolling Stone, 8 Sep. 2021 Its adaptive dampers and air springs are now 10 percent firmer in front and 15 percent firmer at the rear, helping to imbue it with impressively neutral handling. Nelson Ireson, Car and Driver, 31 Aug. 2021 Trying to imbue those moments with greater import, however, soon proves a wearisome endeavor, especially considering that, aside from a few melancholic soundtrack arrangements, there’s little way to decipher their overarching intention. Nick Schager, Variety, 25 Aug. 2021 That habit of self-deception can imbue the reading of work like Taylor’s with the thrill of accessing illicit knowledge. Osita Nwanevu, The New Republic, 24 Aug. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'imbue.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of imbue

1555, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for imbue

Latin imbuere

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About imbue

Listen to Our Podcast About imbue

Dictionary Entries Near imbue




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for imbue

Last Updated

1 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Imbue.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Oct. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for imbue



English Language Learners Definition of imbue

: to cause (someone or something) to be deeply affected by a feeling or to have a certain quality

More from Merriam-Webster on imbue

Nglish: Translation of imbue for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of imbue for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!