verb in·cul·cate \ in-ˈkəl-ˌkāt , ˈin-(ˌ) \

Definition of inculcate

inculcated; inculcating
: to teach and impress by frequent repetitions or admonitions


play \ˌin-(ˌ)kəl-ˈkā-shən\ noun


play \in-ˈkəl-ˌkā-tər, ˈin-(ˌ)kəl-\ noun

inculcate was our Word of the Day on 06/11/2015. Hear the podcast!

Examples of inculcate in a Sentence

  1. The teacher inculcated in her students the importance of good study habits.

  2. dedicated teachers inculcating young minds with a love of learning

Recent Examples of inculcate from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'inculcate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

Inculcate derives from the past participle of the Latin verb inculcare, meaning "to tread on." In Latin, "inculcare" possesses both literal and figurative meanings, referring to either the act of walking over something or to that of impressing something upon the mind, often by way of steady repetition. It is the figurative sense that survives with "inculcate," which was first used in English in the 16th century. "Inculcare" was formed in Latin by combining the prefix in- with calcare, meaning "to trample," and ultimately derives from the noun calx, meaning "heel." In normal usage "inculcate" is typically followed by the prepositions "in" or "into," with the object of the preposition being the person or thing receiving the instruction.

Origin and Etymology of inculcate

Latin inculcatus, past participle of inculcare, literally, to tread on, from in- + calcare to trample, from calc-, calx heel

Synonym Discussion of inculcate

implant, inculcate, instill, inseminate, infix mean to introduce into the mind. implant implies teaching that makes for permanence of what is taught.
    • implanted a love of reading in her students
inculcate implies persistent or repeated efforts to impress on the mind.
    • tried to inculcate in him high moral standards
instill stresses gradual, gentle imparting of knowledge over a long period of time.
    • instill traditional values in your children
inseminate applies to a sowing of ideas in many minds so that they spread through a class or nation.
    • inseminated an unquestioning faith in technology
infix stresses firmly inculcating a habit of thought.
    • infixed a chronic cynicism

INCULCATE Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of inculcate for English Language Learners

  • : to cause (something) to be learned by (someone) by repeating it again and again

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up inculcate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!


a central unit of trained personnel

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Confusing Words—A Quiz

  • alice-with-tweedle-dee-and-tweedle-dum
  • I invented a brand new toaster robot and ______ it "Sir Toasts-a-Lot."
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!