in·​cul·​cate | \ in-ˈkəl-ˌkāt How to pronounce inculcate (audio) , ˈin-(ˌ) How to pronounce inculcate (audio) \
inculcated; inculcating

Definition of inculcate

transitive verb

: to teach and impress by frequent repetitions or admonitions

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Other Words from inculcate

inculcation \ ˌin-​(ˌ)kəl-​ˈkā-​shən How to pronounce inculcate (audio) \ noun
inculcator \ in-​ˈkəl-​ˌkā-​tər How to pronounce inculcate (audio) , ˈin-​(ˌ)kəl-​ \ noun

Synonyms for inculcate


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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

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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.

Examples of inculcate in a Sentence

The teacher inculcated in her students the importance of good study habits. dedicated teachers inculcating young minds with a love of learning
Recent Examples on the Web Key to this new understanding of change is that our adaptability and responsiveness to anything that threatens the foundation of our existence can considerably shift us to inculcate a growth mindset. Ekta Vyas, Forbes, 5 May 2021 To get there, the author emphasizes three qualities Americans must inculcate: justice, mercy, and humility. Monitor Reviewers, The Christian Science Monitor, 19 May 2021 Asking young Americans for a year of their time for their country would be a powerful way to inculcate that call to service. Editorial Board New York Times, Star Tribune, 4 May 2021 Through much of the 1800s, a kind reading of history would say that the central role of public schools was to preserve the American democracy and inculcate democratic values. Michael B. Horn, Forbes, 15 Apr. 2021 Though a lot will depend on how Microsoft utilizes the platform and inculcate it with its existing solutions. Trefis Team, Forbes, 5 Apr. 2021 Those include a raucous free press to hold the powerful to account, schools and universities with a mandate to inculcate critical thinking in the young, and a rule of law in which individuals have inalienable rights. The Economist, 22 Aug. 2020 However, ideas of the superiority of Western culture can do lifelong harm and inculcate hatred of one’s origins. New York Times, 7 Aug. 2020 Bezos has inculcated his business with three bedrock principles that guide all decision-making: customer obsession, extreme innovation, and long-term management. Brian Dumaine, Fortune, 18 May 2020

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.

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First Known Use of inculcate

1539, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for inculcate

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

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Time Traveler for inculcate

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The first known use of inculcate was in 1539

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Last Updated

7 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Inculcate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jul. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of inculcate

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

More from Merriam-Webster on inculcate

Nglish: Translation of inculcate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of inculcate for Arabic Speakers


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