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

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

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.

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 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, "Amazon was built for the pandemic—and will likely emerge from it stronger than ever," 18 May 2020 Given that 3,300 deaths were attributed to flu in Japan in 2018, the good hygiene inculcated in recent months may well have saved far more lives than covid-19 has claimed. The Economist, "Banyan Japan may have to cancel the Olympics," 7 Mar. 2020 This was the culture that inculcated Pavelich, born here to Croatian immigrants on Feb. 28, 1958, the third of five children. John Rosengren, Washington Post, "An Olympic Hockey Hero, a Violent Crime and the Specter of Brain Trauma," 12 Feb. 2020 Khodorkovsky, we’re reminded, is not a saint, however much prison may have inculcated a saintly bearing. David Klion, The New Republic, "Citizen K Captures the Rise and Fall of an Oligarch," 22 Jan. 2020 While leftist ideas have long prevailed at the university and many of India’s other leading campuses, the R.S.S. has worked to inculcate its far-right ideology at a much younger age. New York Times, "Behind Campus Attack in India, Some See a Far-Right Agenda," 10 Jan. 2020 After the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, the party decided that inculcating children with nationalism and focusing on foreign enemies would make students less likely to rebel against the state. New York Times, "Her Uighur Parents Were Model Chinese Citizens. It Didn’t Matter.," 29 Jan. 2020 Crimes in such areas were to be punished more harshly and public day care for toddlers made mandatory to inculcate Danish values. The Economist, "Denmark wants to break up ethnic enclaves. What is wrong with them?," 28 Nov. 2019 During the cold war the Soviet Union inculcated post-colonial leaders in Marxism-Leninism and backed liberation movements in countries such as Angola, Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau, often as part of proxy wars with the West. The Economist, "Vladimir Putin flaunts Russia’s increasing influence in Africa," 24 Oct. 2019

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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Cite this Entry

“Inculcate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for inculcate


How to pronounce inculcate (audio) How to pronounce inculcate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of inculcate

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

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