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 The sexism ingrained in these attacks is not unique to those directed at climate activists, experts say. Linda Givetash, NBC News, "Young female climate activists face hateful abuse online. This is how they cope.," 10 Nov. 2019 The race comes at a pivotal time for Memphis, a majority-black city still grappling with economic and social inequities that had long been ingrained when the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated there in 1968. San Diego Union-Tribune, "3-way battle for Memphis mayor marked by bitter conflicts," 1 Oct. 2019 Working to be the best was a lesson ingrained by his family for generations. James Brown, CBS News, "Russell Wilson asks the important question: Why not you?," 8 Sep. 2019 His legacy will live long, and his name forever ingrained into the fond memories of the unwavering, unfaltering and utterly infatuated Arsenal fanbase., "Arsenal Exits: Who Could Leave the Emirates Stadium to Fund Overzealous Wilfried Zaha Move," 26 June 2019 Guns are deeply ingrained in the culture of Texas, where learning to shoot is a common a rite of passage and even some gun control proponents own firearms. Los Angeles Times, "After mass shootings, gun advocates in Texas worry about a political shift," 9 Sep. 2019 The court noted then that the charter makes no distinction between partisan and non-partisan races and that although Cleveland elections were non-partisan contests, they may still be ingrained with partisan politics, such as political endorsements. Robert Higgs,, "Cleveland fire union sets deadline for city to oust Chief Angelo Calvillo, threatens lawsuit if city doesn’t act," 13 Aug. 2019 Nearly four centuries after the arrival of the first Jesuit missionaries, Catholicism is deeply ingrained in the culture of Guam’s indigenous people, known as Chamorros. Washington Post, "Catholicism ingrained in daily life on US island of Guam," 10 Aug. 2019 Systemic violence against minority groups is ingrained in American history. María Cortés González, azcentral, "'This Anglo man came here to kill Hispanics': Will race motivate more violence?," 5 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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, "How Donald Glover found his inner Simba after losing his father: 'It wasn't lost on me'," 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,, "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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Time Traveler for ingrain

Time Traveler

The first known use of ingrain was circa 1641

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Statistics for ingrain

Last Updated

18 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Ingrain.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 November 2019.

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More from Merriam-Webster on ingrain

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ingrain

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ingrain

Britannica English: Translation of ingrain for Arabic Speakers

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strength of mind

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