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 The 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. Chron, "HomeAid congratulates GHBA 'Of the Year Award' winners," 27 Feb. 2021 Berdis acted as a buffer between her husband’s rage, and continued to instill the importance of education and freedom into her children. Ko Bragg, USA TODAY, "‘The Three Mothers’ honors women who raised Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, James Baldwin," 4 Feb. 2021 Perez helped instill values such as respect, good sportsmanship, honesty and teamwork. Teri Webster, Dallas News, "Head coach of Plano Aerobats gymnastics team retires after 30 years leading popular program," 1 Feb. 2021 His program also includes strength and conditioning, and health and wellness plans to instill good habits. Nathaniel Weitzer,, "Brimming with young talent, Cathedral boys’ basketball building for the future," 21 Jan. 2021 During Mao Zedong’s reign, China used propaganda posters, art and tales of revolutionary heroes to instill a spirit of nationalism. Liza Lin, WSJ, "Xi’s China Crafts Campaign to Boost Youth Patriotism," 30 Dec. 2020 So Jenkins received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine on December 15 before cameras to instill confidence in the vaccine among her staff, becoming the latest high-profile health care professional to take such a step. Harmeet Kaur, CNN, "CEO of Howard University Hospital got the Covid-19 vaccine to encourage staff to follow her lead," 21 Dec. 2020 Other senior administration officials are expected to take the vaccine publicly to instill public confidence. Rebecca Ballhaus, WSJ, "Mike Pence Gets Covid-19 Vaccine Amid National Immunization Campaign," 18 Dec. 2020 That’s on top of supplying buyers with one-year minimum warranties to instill trust. Lindsey Tramuta, Fortune, "The promising future for online resale marketplaces," 30 Jan. 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

5 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Instill.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Who Knew?

How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

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!