verb im·bue \im-ˈbyü\

Definition of imbue




  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to permeate or influence as if by dyeing the spirit that imbues the new constitution

  3. 2 :  to tinge or dye deeply

  4. 3 :  endow 3 Spanish missions imbue the city with Old World charm — Scott Pendleton

imbue was our Word of the Day on 10/25/2016. Hear the podcast!

Examples of imbue in a sentence

  1. A feeling of optimism imbues her works.

  2. her training at the school for the deaf imbued her with a sense of purpose that she had never known before

Did You Know?

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."

Origin and Etymology of imbue

Latin imbuere

First Known Use: 1555

Synonym Discussion of 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 Defined for English Language Learners


verb im·bue \im-ˈbyü\

Definition of imbue for English Language Learners

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

Seen and Heard

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a trip made at another's expense

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