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 instill (audio) , -​(ˌ)sti-​ \ noun
instiller \ in-​ˈsti-​lər How to pronounce instill (audio) \ noun
instillment \ in-​ˈstil-​mənt How to pronounce instill (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 One way to cook your meat and instill it with some flavor is by using a smoker. Chris Hachey, BGR, 11 June 2021 The administrators of any Catholic school should recoil from such tactics in their laudable quest to instill charity and human solidarity in their students. Grazie Pozo Christie, National Review, 20 May 2021 Jerry Jones needs to get himself a little of that March Madness and instill it in his Cowboys. Kevin Sherrington, Dallas News, 21 Mar. 2021 Rather, they are intended to help instill a culture wherein businesses embrace change as a foundational pillar of operations. Paul Jarman, Forbes, 2 June 2021 Becoming familiar with less violent methods of policing will ultimately instill more confidence in officers, and could in turn prevent unsafe situations, Berman told FOX 17. Stephanie Pagones, Fox News, 2 June 2021 In Alabama, only approximately 1-in-3 residents is vaccinated, a very low proportion that doesn’t instill confidence in our level of community protection from infection. Ben Flanagan |, al, 27 May 2021 This is no way to instill confidence in our elections. Joshua A. Douglas, CNN, 7 May 2021 The senior big man made several early buckets and spot-on passes to instill confidence in this group, and then his leadership kept the Ramblers in front as the Illini tried to counter-punch. Baylor. Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY, 21 Mar. 2021

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

21 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Instill.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jun. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for instill



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


transitive verb
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


Test Your Vocabulary

Return of Name that Color!

  • a light greenish blue color
  • Name that color:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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