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 Tullock, especially, is the breakout star of the film, imbuing her ostentatious character with real soul. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: ‘Before You Know It’ is a charming but messy take on family love," 5 Sep. 2019 It’s more fun and ballsy than anything Marvel Studios has made, imbued with a relentless kinetic energy from start to finish. Adam Epstein, Quartzy, "The two best Spider-Man movies were made without Disney’s involvement," 21 Aug. 2019 Playful, funny, irreverent, hundreds of them dot the landscape thanks to a street artist who goes by name Clet, a Frenchman who saw an opportunity to do something different in a place imbued in history. CBS News, "This Week: "A Sunday Morning in Florence" (August 18)," 15 Aug. 2019 But the untold connections with which Tartt imbues the painting fail to translate in the film, in which The Goldfinch is mostly, well, just a painting. Andrew R. Chow, Time, "The Goldfinch Is a Uniquely Challenging Novel to Adapt. Here’s Why the Movie Was Doomed," 13 Sep. 2019 Cavallaro and Henry write with sharp, crisp voices, imbuing their heroines with wit and outsized imagination. Maureen Lee Lenker,, "EW talks YA: Why these two extraordinary teen tales deserve your attention," 12 Sep. 2019 Thank you to Christina, David, Alex, Jóse, Mina, Angel, Ashley, Gregory, Shea, Sam, Hana, Morgan, Emma, Lauren and Michael for making this collection happen and for imbuing love and passion into every cut, stitch, and crystal placement. Channing Hargrove,, "Christopher John Rogers Proves He Is A Designer’s Designer," 8 Sep. 2019 This stark distinction imbued Soviet-era literature with a gratifyingly Manichaean quality, and Western readers became enamored of the stories of books that had escaped to liberty while their authors remained at the mercy of the Soviet authorities. Sophie Pinkham, The New Republic, "Vasily Grossman’s Lost Epic," 27 Aug. 2019 Presley grew up Pentecostal, imbued with gospel music, at First Assembly of God in Tupelo, Miss. al, "The cult of Elvis lives on: Presley died 42 years ago," 16 Aug. 2019

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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Statistics for imbue

Last Updated

2 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for imbue

The first known use of imbue was in 1555

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on imbue

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for imbue

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with imbue

Spanish Central: Translation of imbue

Nglish: Translation of imbue for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of imbue for Arabic Speakers

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to spread as a report or rumor

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