in·​grain | \(ˌ)in-ˈgrān \
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 \

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 \

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

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 The study authors explain that a lot of these personality differences may be ingrained culturally. Nina Bahadur, SELF, "9 Facts to Know About Narcissistic Personality Disorder Before Calling Someone a Narcissist," 8 Nov. 2018 Pain in defeat can always be used as fuel to recharge, become mentally stronger and further motivate the desire to win which is ingrained in any and all professional footballers., "Why France's Quality and Experience Means Now is the Time to Stand and Deliver at the World Cup," 22 June 2018 Sauna bathing is ingrained in the Finnish culture, and most people do it at least weekly, according to the researchers on the new study. Amy Norton,, "Time in a sauna linked to lower stroke risk," 9 May 2018 While Canada prides itself on embracing immigrants, the group has resonated with a small but vocal minority in Quebec, where a strong tradition of secularism was ingrained during a revolt against the Roman Catholic Church in the 1960s. Dan Bilefsky, New York Times, "Quebec City Mosque Gunman Pleads Guilty to Murder," 28 Mar. 2018 Ban Mound Visits The image of an out-of-shape manager plodding onto the field to offer platitudes to his pitcher is ingrained in baseball’s fabric. WSJ, "Our Insane Ideas to Save Baseball," 25 Oct. 2018 For example, tackling corruption, a problem ingrained in nearly every aspect of Mexican civic life, will not be simple. Kate Linthicum,, "Five challenges that lie ahead for Mexico's next president," 2 July 2018 That ethos has long been ingrained in Gardner, the plucky 34-year-old left fielder who, as the Yankees’ longest tenured player, is somewhat of an anachronism on a team built around emerging young sluggers. New York Times, "Brett Gardner Finally Joins the Party as the Yankees Surge Into First Place," 9 May 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

16 Dec 2018

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

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