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

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 The bill will also instill a minimum tax on giant corporations that get away with paying little to nothing and make health care and drug prescriptions more affordable for millions of Americans. Frida Ghitis, CNN, 5 Aug. 2022 And if someone is in a lull or struggling with any aspect of their mental health, the simple act of maintaining a plant can instill a sense of daily purpose. Alexa Mikhail, Fortune, 21 July 2022 Shirley can often instill tension by introducing separate characters somehow randomly encountering others. Cressida Leyshon, The New Yorker, 4 July 2022 This will instill the notion of climate change as something that affects the public’s daily lives rather than a distant future. Dongwook Kim, Scientific American, 27 June 2022 His aim has been to instill the spirit of the Great Patriotic War, as World War II is known in Russia, among Russian troops, but to little apparent avail. New York Times, 8 May 2022 Those would instill a sense of temporary emergency, Campbell said, instead of a longer-term desert ethic. Brandon Loomis, The Arizona Republic, 4 May 2022 Lofaso hopes to instill confidence in the show's contestants and like Child, prove that cooking is accessible to anyone. Patrick Ryan, USA TODAY, 31 Mar. 2022 In Maine, a pending Democratic bill would instill safeguards to protect ballots and voting machines from tampering while also keeping ballots out of the hands of partisans. Scott Bauer, ajc, 26 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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

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Time Traveler for instill

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

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Last Updated

8 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Instill.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for instill


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

More from Merriam-Webster on instill

Nglish: Translation of instill for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of instill for Arabic Speakers


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