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

Keep scrolling for more

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 Whatever it is called, the aim is to inculcate a galactic esprit de corps. The Economist, "Donald Trump unveils Space Command," 5 Sep. 2019 The draft reiterates these themes group-by-group, advising teachers on how best to inculcate their impressionable students, and includes direct political propagandizing, such as citing President Donald Trump’s policies as examples of subjugation. Dan Walters, The Mercury News, "Walters: California’s ethnic studies political time bomb explodes," 11 Aug. 2019 Many Presidents have used their bully pulpit to inculcate moral virtues. Rod Rosenstein, Time, "How To Stop White Supremacist Terrorism," 8 Aug. 2019 While mainland Chinese education inculcates its youth with a sense of nationalism, Hong Kong youth activism cut its teeth on movements against authoritarian education reform. Los Angeles Times, "Beijing declares support for Hong Kong police and government, condemning protesters in rare press conference," 29 July 2019 Such statements are greeted with no small amount of alarm by young Hong Kongers, who are the most alienated from China of any generation, despite concerted efforts by both the local and central governments to inculcate greater levels of patriotism. James Griffiths, CNN, "Why Hong Kong's young protesters feel they're running out of time in fight for democracy," 25 July 2019 Some of that was inculcated into young Kamala early by her mother, who exposed her daughters to many of the freedom movements that were a hallmark of their late-‘60s youth in Oakland. Marco Della Cava, USA TODAY, "Kamala Harris knows how to 'throw an elbow': How California politics shaped the 2020 hopeful," 4 July 2019 At the end of the video, watched by more than 14 million people so far, Mr. Dud discussed how Russians have not fully exorcised the fear inculcated by Stalin’s legacy. New York Times, "Looking for Free Speech in Russia? Try YouTube," 9 June 2019 The notion that Macbeth could apply his military skill to deposing the king is something that Macbeth’s wife is eager to inculcate. Mike Giuliano,, "Outdoor production of 'Macbeth' in Ellicott City casts its spell," 13 June 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about inculcate

Time Traveler for inculcate

Time Traveler

The first known use of inculcate was in 1539

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about inculcate

Statistics for inculcate

Cite this Entry

“Inculcate.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 5 December 2019.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on inculcate

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


to accept, comply, or submit

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Semantic Drift Quiz

  • a twisty river
  • Which of the following was once a synonym for fun?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

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!