in·​still | \ in-ˈstil How to pronounce instill (audio) \
instilled; instilling; instills

Definition of instill

transitive verb

1 : to impart gradually instilling a love of learning in children
2 : to cause to enter drop by drop instill medication into the infected eye

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from instill

instillation \ ˌin(t)-​stə-​ˈlā-​shən How to pronounce instillation (audio) , -​(ˌ)sti-​ \ noun
instiller \ in-​ˈsti-​lər How to pronounce instiller (audio) \ noun
instillment \ in-​ˈstil-​mənt How to pronounce instillment (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for instill

implant, inculcate, instill, inseminate, infix mean to introduce into the mind. implant implies teaching that makes for permanence of what is taught. implanted a love of reading in her students inculcate implies persistent or repeated efforts to impress on the mind. tried to inculcate in him high moral standards instill stresses gradual, gentle imparting of knowledge over a long period of time. instill traditional values in your children inseminate applies to a sowing of ideas in many minds so that they spread through a class or nation. inseminated an unquestioning faith in technology infix stresses firmly inculcating a habit of thought. infixed a chronic cynicism

Examples of instill in a Sentence

a charismatic leader who instilled in his followers a passionate commitment to the cause
Recent Examples on the Web Both are efforts to instill what the government views as the appropriate type of patriotism, and force love of a motherland that many see as an oppressor. Timothy Mclaughlin, The Atlantic, "A Stubborn Leader, a Broken System," 18 June 2020 The goal is to instill confidence among voters that the virus can be tamed and the economy fully reopened under Trump’s stewardship., "Trump pushes for quick vaccine solution," 17 June 2020 These restaurants instill high standards into the core of your being as a young chef. Rachel King, Fortune, "The Coronavirus Economy: The fine dining veterans aspiring to elevate frozen food," 16 June 2020 One of the goals of the policing system in Finland is to instill public confidence in law enforcement, Rikander said, citing studies that show more than 90% of people trust police. Graham Kates, CBS News, "Some U.S. police train for just a few weeks, in some countries they train for years," 10 June 2020 Greg Crane, founder of the ALICE Training Institute, the largest private provider of active shooter training in the U.S., told the Times the drills are not meant to instill fear. Ashley Chervinski,, "We Have To Talk About 13 Reasons Why Season 4’s Jarring Episode “Thursday”," 8 June 2020 The cottage, named the Woodforest Cottage is designed to instill security, warmth and a nurturing environment for as long as the children need a safe haven, many times through high school. Houston Chronicle, "Empire Communities, vendors complete construction of HomeAid Project," 6 June 2020 Some posts tried to instill fear on the other side of the political spectrum. Robert Anglen, azcentral, "Fake social media posts incite fear of suburban marauders, rape and murder across the U.S.," 4 June 2020 The latest, albeit small, uptick in passenger confidence is due in part to the extraordinary efforts that airlines and airports worldwide are taking to re-instill consumer confidence in air travel. Ramsey Qubein, Condé Nast Traveler, "How Air Travel Is Starting to Rebound Around the Globe," 3 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'instill.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of instill

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for instill

Middle English, from Latin instillare, from in- + stillare to drip, from stilla drop

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about instill

Time Traveler for instill

Time Traveler

The first known use of instill was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for instill

Last Updated

2 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Instill.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for instill


How to pronounce instill (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of instill

: to gradually cause someone to have (an attitude, feeling, etc.)


in·​still | \ in-ˈstil How to pronounce instill (audio) \
instilled; instilling

Kids Definition of instill

: to put into the mind little by little Patience with the ways of nature had been instilled in her by her father.— Jean Craighead George, Julie of the Wolves
in·​still | \ in-ˈstil How to pronounce instill (audio) \
instilled; instilling

Medical Definition of instill

: to cause to enter especially drop by drop instill medication into the infected eye

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on instill

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for instill

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with instill

Spanish Central: Translation of instill

Nglish: Translation of instill for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of instill for Arabic Speakers

Comments on instill

What made you want to look up instill? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A More Exception(al) Quiz

  • hot dog  hot dog  hot dog  hot dog cat
  • Which of the following words is not a synonym for ‘a young person’?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!