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 Britten’s genius is on full display as Parameswaran and the strings imbue each section with concentrated character, and informed camera-work guides viewers through the piece with insight. Zachary Lewis, cleveland, "Cleveland Orchestra epitomizes title words in new ‘Style and Craft’ Adella episode," 7 May 2021 In forcing a confrontation with these prosaic architectures of passage, liminal-space images imbue the familiar with an eerie surreality. Madelyne Xiao, The New Yorker, "The Pleasant Head Trip of Liminal Spaces," 16 Apr. 2021 The American artist’s confident brushstrokes imbue the scene with a frenzied energy accentuated by vibrant bursts of color. Isis Davis-marks, Smithsonian Magazine, "Sweeping Survey Unites Works by 100 Women Artists of the Past Century," 16 Apr. 2021 The goal is to imbue smoke into ingredients like cabbage, paired with enoki mushrooms and chile ($26), and whole fish, wrapped and roasted in kombu ($68). Janelle Bitker, San Francisco Chronicle, "Napa just got a splashy new upscale restaurant from a former Momofuku chef," 4 Mar. 2021 Also, the act of caring for another can imbue employees with valuable skills that translate well to the workplace. Elissa Strauss, CNN, "How parents make the workplace better for everyone," 8 Apr. 2021 In that case, make sure to explain how those will end-up dovetailing into your efforts and what if any chokepoints this might imbue. Lance Eliot, Forbes, "Using The Cloud To Bootstrap Your Autonomous Vehicles Startup," 9 Mar. 2021 Judas and the Black Messiah isn’t a romance, but the scenes of Hampton and Johnson’s romance imbue the film with heart. Andrea Cuttler, Harper's BAZAAR, "Dominique Fishback Says She 'Became a Woman' While Filming Judas and the Black Messiah," 3 Mar. 2021 All of Madson’s red wines are fermented entirely whole-cluster, a winemaking technique in which the grapes are left to soak with their stems, which can imbue the resulting wine with an extra astringency and woodsy flavors. Esther Mobley, San Francisco Chronicle, "A woodsy, floral Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir that captures the fresh California springtime," 31 Mar. 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.

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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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Last Updated

10 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Imbue.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 May. 2021.

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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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for imbue

Nglish: Translation of imbue for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of imbue for Arabic Speakers

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