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in·​grain (ˌ)in-ˈgrān How to pronounce ingrain (audio)
variants or less commonly engrain
ingrained also engrained; ingraining also engraining; ingrains also engrains

transitive verb

: to work indelibly into the natural texture or mental or moral constitution


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in·​grain ˈin-ˌgrān How to pronounce ingrain (audio)
: made of fiber that is dyed before being spun into yarn
: made of yarn that is dyed before being woven or knitted
: thoroughly worked in : innate


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in·​grain ˈin-ˌgrān How to pronounce ingrain (audio)
: innate quality or character
Choose the Right Synonym for ingrain

infuse, suffuse, imbue, ingrain, inoculate, leaven mean to introduce one thing into another so as to affect it throughout.

infuse implies a pouring in of something that gives new life or significance.

new members infused enthusiasm into the club

suffuse implies a spreading through of something that gives an unusual color or quality.

a room suffused with light

imbue implies the introduction of a quality that fills and permeates the whole being.

imbue students with intellectual curiosity

ingrain, used only in the passive or past participle, suggests the deep implanting of a quality or trait.

clung to ingrained habits

inoculate implies an imbuing or implanting with a germinal idea and often suggests stealth or subtlety.

an electorate inoculated with dangerous ideas

leaven implies introducing something that enlivens, tempers, or markedly alters the total quality.

a serious play leavened with comic moments

Examples of ingrain in a Sentence

Verb the journalism professor has long ingrained his students with a deep respect for their chosen profession the third-world privation he had witnessed forever ingrained itself upon the young doctor's memory Adjective an ingrain skepticism that saves him from falling for every hoax that comes along
Recent Examples on the Web
My fear is that these opinions will forever be ingrained in Southerners unable to accept the losing side. Letters To The Editor, The Mercury News, 23 Jan. 2024 His photographs are inversions of the authoritative images ingrained in our collective memory from those moments. Vann R. Newkirk Ii, The Atlantic, 1 Feb. 2024 Connecticut residents are clearly not yet ready to fully embrace the transition to electric vehicles, largely because of a lack of consumer confidence but also due to the stark reality that overhauling a century-old industry ingrained in our culture does not happen in a few years. Peter Brennan, Hartford Courant, 17 Jan. 2024 The brand’s passion for honoring strong Black legacies is ingrained in its DNA, as ESSENCE noted in 2020 when Weaver spoke about the company’s inception. Jasmine Browley, Essence, 21 Jan. 2024 Start sustainability training programs for employees to ensure these initiatives are ingrained in your corporate culture. Eliron Ekstein, Forbes, 28 Nov. 2023 Since the pandemic laid bare the nation’s worsening childcare crisis, Clinton says that addressing caregiver burnout and parental anxiety is ingrained in their model and that telehealth can be a hallmark solution. Byalexa Mikhail, Fortune Well, 13 Nov. 2023 Focused on taking down the Apex predator, Cady, Janis and Damian set out to ruin Regina’s image and status, ingraining Cady into her nemesis’ life, which includes that infamous burn book and a desperate to be cool Mrs. George (Busy Philipps). Abbey White, The Hollywood Reporter, 8 Nov. 2023 Faith provides moral values ingrained in our souls, making clear the difference between right and wrong. WSJ, 24 Oct. 2023
Pitching coaches and performance trainers can implement changes to grip, pressure points and arm angle, but alterations are generally more challenging to ingrain with fastballs than off-speed pitches. The Arizona Republic, 19 Apr. 2023 From their first five-mile hike to joining a weekend campout, outdoor adventures ingrain skills into our Scouts that are applicable in the real world. Dallas News, 12 Oct. 2020 Such moments are part of what ingrain Disney movies in us, says Favreau, noting that the family-friendly films are often a child’s first lesson in how to navigate life's bigger turns: love, death and personal ethics. Andrea Mandell, USA TODAY, 10 July 2019 Police forces actually only hire candidates that fall below a certain IQ level, and ingrain in their officers to simply take orders from the chiefs and mayor's. Joseph A. Gambardello,, 27 Feb. 2018 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ingrain.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


circa 1641, in the meaning defined above


1766, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1899, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of ingrain was circa 1641

Dictionary Entries Near ingrain

Cite this Entry

“Ingrain.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
in·​grain (ˈ)in-ˈgrān How to pronounce ingrain (audio)
: to work deeply into the texture of something or into the mental or moral nature of someone
ingrain young children with responsibility


2 of 2 adjective
in·​grain ˈin-ˌgrān How to pronounce ingrain (audio)
: made of fiber that is dyed before being spun into yarn
: made of yarn that is dyed before being woven or knitted
ingrain carpet

More from Merriam-Webster on ingrain

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