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

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 The company continues to fight the good fight to keep the phrase from becoming generic, but some call it bullying over a phrase that is already ingrained in the public lexicon. Craig Hlavaty, Houston Chronicle, "The term 'Taco Tuesday' is trademarked by the Taco John's chain from Wyoming," 22 Mar. 2018 What values are being ingrained through all of that? Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Borsuk: What would Mister Rogers say about the images of kids at the southern border?," 22 June 2018 The Reveres at Thursday’s gathering, who all live in Massachusetts, say pride in the family’s name was ingrained at an early age. Dugan Arnett,, "For the other Paul Reveres, every day is Patriots Day," 10 May 2018 Instead, O'Neill said the problem is ingrained in the state. Seth A. Richardson,, "Bill O'Neill proposes cabinet-level 'education czar' to address schools," 30 Jan. 2018 And yet, the Pre-Raphaelites’ insatiable appetite for realistic detail, lurid color and, above all, passion for romantic story are deeply ingrained in the public psyche as ideals in art. Charles Desmarais,, "‘Truth and Beauty’ at Legion of Honor: Pure visual pleasure of an idiosyncratic style," 29 June 2018 The church-like ambiance already ingrained in the medieval galleries coupled with the haunting designs and glittering jeweled crosses is engaging enough without a backstory. Cara Kelly, USA TODAY, "'Heavenly Bodies' is the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s largest, most ambitious exhibit to date," 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

21 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for ingrain

The first known use of ingrain was circa 1641

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Comments on ingrain

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a state of commotion or excitement

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