in·still | \ in-ˈstil \
instilled; instilling; instills

Definition of instill 

transitive verb

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

2 : to impart gradually instilling a love of learning in children

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Other words from instill

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

He was raised by his grandparents, who instilled a sense of discipline and right and wrong in him. Stephen Ruiz,, "Umpires rally around Sanford peer after infection costs him his legs," 6 July 2018 That experience taught him two things: address the most critical thing for the campus now and instill the sense of confidence in your team by being a collaborative leader. Kate Murphy,, "Northern Kentucky University: New president Ashish Vaidya likes NKU's 'nimbleness'," 29 June 2018 After the death of his mother, he was raised by his father and two maiden aunts who instilled a strong moral sense in him. Jacques Kelly,, "J. Alex Haller Jr., Johns Hopkins pediatric surgeon who gained fame in separating conjoined twins, dies," 16 June 2018 Dorothy will also be remembered as a devoted mother who instilled in her children a love of learning and the arts., "Dorothy Kaplan McCarty," 8 June 2018 Eventually, the paintings instilled in me a powerful sense of imagination. Marc Myers, WSJ, "Kyra Sedgwick on Growing Up in a Home That Felt Like a Museum," 5 June 2018 Groundwork offers programs for youths ages 8 and up and is constantly looking to instill in them a sense of stewardship for the earth. Morgan Hughes, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "How fresh cucumbers, spinach are transforming impoverished Milwaukee neighborhoods," 30 May 2018 Having money is instilling a sense of pride in the tribe. Annette Mcgivney, Outside Online, "300 Flights Through the Grand Canyon's Helicopter Alley," 24 May 2018 Even before Martin’s death, the family would volunteer in their Dorchester neighborhood, in part to instill a sense of good values in their children, Denise Richard said. Jerome Campbell,, "A day of service in memory of Martin Richard," 23 Apr. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of instill

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for instill

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

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Statistics for instill

Last Updated

17 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for instill

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

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More Definitions for instill



English Language Learners Definition of instill

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


in·still | \ in-ˈstil \
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


transitive verb
in·still | \ in-ˈstil \
instilled; instilling

Medical Definition of instill 

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

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Comments on instill

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