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

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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 The immediate — though certainly not the only — issue for the state’s wine industry is wildfire smoke, which has the ability to imbue wine grapes with irrepressible, unpleasant smoky aromas and flavors. Esther Mobley,, "California's wineries tossed into chaos with backlogged tests for smoke taint," 23 Sep. 2020 Whatever performances, ideas, and dazzling set pieces Nolan manages to imbue into this film have and will become secondary to the bigger industry struggles. Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, "Don’t risk your health to see Tenet, which is uber-fun but still just a movie," 12 Sep. 2020 Right now, the wine industry’s big concern is smoke taint, a phenomenon where lingering wildfire smoke can imbue wine grapes with flavors and aromas that recall an ashtray or a barbecue. Esther Mobley,, "The 2020 wildfires and Bay Area's food and wine supply: what you need to know," 27 Aug. 2020 Veselka does not imbue her memories of that time with nostalgia. oregonlive, "Vanessa Veselka survived as a teen runaway in 1980s Portland, searches for 21st-century America in challenging new novel," 25 Aug. 2020 But the notion that simply making an image black and white can imbue it with an inherent sense of import has also become something of a cliche, especially when used by amateur Instagram shutterbugs. Cait Munro,, "Grey Area: How Black & White Photography Became A Complicated Symbol Of Female Empowerment," 31 July 2020 Finally, the Sun is conjunct with Mercury retrograde in sentimental Cancer, which may imbue the day with a sense of nostalgia. Venus Australis,, "Your Horoscope This Week," 28 June 2020 Once filming began, Coppola tried to imbue her set with a casual, summer camp vibe, and although the shoot was only a few weeks, the young cast hit it off immediately, celebrating birthdays and playing laser tag as a form of Lisbon family bonding. Devan Coggan,, "Sofia Coppola and The Virgin Suicides cast reunite to talk 20th anniversary," 18 June 2020 Once artists imbue their day-to-day lives with purpose and meaning, waking up no longer becomes something to dread. Janie Paul, The Conversation, "What we can learn about isolation from prison artists," 9 June 2020

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.

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First Known Use of imbue

1555, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for imbue

Latin imbuere

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The first known use of imbue was in 1555

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Last Updated

30 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Imbue.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for imbue


How to pronounce imbue (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of imbue

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

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