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

Definition of ingrain

 (Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

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


in·​grain | \ ˈin-ˌgrān How to pronounce ingrain (audio) \

Definition of ingrain (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : made of fiber that is dyed before being spun into yarn
b : made of yarn that is dyed before being woven or knitted
2 : thoroughly worked in : innate


in·​grain | \ ˈin-ˌgrān How to pronounce ingrain (audio) \

Definition of ingrain (Entry 3 of 3)

: innate quality or character

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Mindfulness training may encompass things like meditation and positive thinking exercises to ingrain these habits in workers. Expert Panel®, Forbes, 26 May 2021 So cultivating personal leadership skills and gravitas is simply a matter of repeatedly putting in the committed work and effort needed to ingrain these traits into your way of being. Jon Michail, Forbes, 10 May 2021 But the proud mama strives to ingrain meaningful values into her daughter. Darlene Aderoju,, 5 Apr. 2021 The most customer-centric leaders set the example to ingrain a customer focus into the culture and make customers central to every decision the company makes. Blake Morgan, Forbes, 5 Apr. 2021 In between his last starts, Arrieta worked with different drills to re-ingrain that arm path. Meghan Montemurro,, 13 Mar. 2021 Celebration can cause your brain to release feel-good neurotransmitters that have been found to help ingrain habits, said Dr. Fogg. Anne Tergesen, WSJ, 28 Dec. 2020 Like any elementary school punishment, the instructions were meant to ingrain a point of view in young and aspiring artists. Los Angeles Times, 7 Dec. 2020 But even amid the camaraderie, a lingering self-consciousness exists, ingrained by decades of intimidation. Taylor Luck, The Christian Science Monitor, 27 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ingrain.' 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 ingrain


circa 1641, in the meaning defined above


1766, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1899, in the meaning defined above

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Learn More about ingrain

Time Traveler for ingrain

Time Traveler

The first known use of ingrain was circa 1641

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Statistics for ingrain

Last Updated

7 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ingrain.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jun. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on ingrain

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ingrain

Britannica English: Translation of ingrain for Arabic Speakers


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