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


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


an ingrain skepticism that saves him from falling for every hoax that comes along
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Some advocates believe that part of the problem may be ingrained in Israel’s political culture. Sam Sokol,, "Child advocates blast systemic failures in Israel’s handling of sex abuse cases," 2 July 2019 And although his competitive career in the sport has reached its end, Burzell acknowledges that the game will be forever ingrained in him. Josh Criswell,, "Daily Pilot Boys’ Basketball Dream Team: Blake Burzell grew, made history at Laguna Beach," 10 May 2018 Unconscious bias training, meanwhile, starts by helping workers understand that many biases are ingrained, whether by giving them a test or generally helping them understand the science behind their inherent nature. Jena Mcgregor,, "The 'unconscious bias' training Starbucks is doing 'really took off after Ferguson'," 17 Apr. 2018 And that is so deeply ingrained in you, to be silent about it and to associate shame to it. Noor Brara, Vogue, "The Wedding Director Sam Abbas on What It’s Like to Screen an LGBTQ Film in the Middle East," 7 Nov. 2018 But with Sweden’s self-perception as a society that values autonomy and independence now being deeply ingrained in the country’s housing market and social security system, there is no easy fix. Rick Noack, Washington Post, "Isolation is rising in Europe. Can loneliness ministers help change that?," 2 Feb. 2018 Additionally, ingrained in the concept of virginity lie deeply antiquated notions about gender and sexuality. Caroline Reilly, Teen Vogue, "Brett Kavanaugh Could Have Been a Virgin and Still Sexually Assaulted Dr. Ford," 30 Sep. 2018 Milanese aristocratic families are notoriously averse to showing off their possessions, privacy being of utmost importance here, ingrained in a culture of elegant discretion. Tiziana Cardini, Vogue, "Swarovski Hosts a Party for the Book of Dreams in a Fantastical Setting," 21 Sep. 2018 Though ostensibly a sideshow from tournament play, marquee exhibitions are ingrained in the history of golf. Brian Costa, WSJ, "Tiger and Phil’s Biggest Bet: Viewers Will Pay," 21 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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,, "3 Camden police officers removed from duty over alleged assault caught on video," 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

Statistics for ingrain

Last Updated

15 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ingrain

The first known use of ingrain was circa 1641

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More from Merriam-Webster on ingrain

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ingrain

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ingrain

Britannica English: Translation of ingrain for Arabic Speakers

Comments on ingrain

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something desired as essential

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