im·​print·​ing | \ ˈim-ˌprin-tiŋ How to pronounce imprinting (audio) , im-ˈprin- \

Definition of imprinting

: a rapid learning process that takes place early in the life of a social animal (such as a goose) and establishes a behavior pattern (such as recognition of and attraction to its own kind or a substitute)

Examples of imprinting in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Still, Hensley isn’t worried about imprinting — or at least not among people who have been vaccinated with mRNA vaccines. Helen Branswell, STAT, 19 Apr. 2021 The dogs are learning odor imprinting and will sniff out the difference between positive and negative COVID-19 saliva and urine samples from the lab before testing their skills on humans. Iris Katz,, 17 Oct. 2020 Through imprinting, Frank has bonded with her for life, has no fear of people and always will identify with humans instead of other sparrows. Mary Colurso |, al, 23 Sep. 2020 No mammals are known to reproduce this way because unlike simpler organisms, mammals rely on a process called genomic imprinting. Corryn Wetzel, National Geographic, 25 Aug. 2020 The yellow, black and chocolate labs will be trained for three weeks using a process called odor imprinting. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, 1 May 2020 The fact that researchers can discern bilingualism at an early age indicates that the brains of monolingual and bilingual babies are subject to unique and different patterns of neuronal imprinting. Adrian Woolfson, WSJ, 5 Mar. 2020 The process is completed with the imprinting of a small red heart on the lower right-hand corner of the license. Nataly Keomoungkhoun, Dallas News, 5 Feb. 2020 Now, Fedor Jelezko, a physicist at Ulm University in Germany, Zurek, and colleagues have demonstrated that redundant imprinting of information on the environment. Adrian Cho, Science | AAAS, 12 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'imprinting.' 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 imprinting

1937, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for imprinting

Time Traveler

The first known use of imprinting was in 1937

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Statistics for imprinting

Last Updated

1 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Imprinting.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for imprinting


im·​print·​ing | \ ˈim-ˌprint-iŋ, im-ˈ How to pronounce imprinting (audio) \

Medical Definition of imprinting

1 : a rapid learning process that takes place early in the life of a social animal (as a greylag goose) and establishes a behavior pattern (as recognition of and attraction to its own kind or a substitute)


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