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 Two franchises gasping for air after being suffocated by the rebuilding process, with Hinch at the helm to instill a winning mindset. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers manager AJ Hinch returns to Houston: 'This is where I call home'," 12 Apr. 2021 To masterfully instill a sense of dread in the player, Vasselbring built an under-the-hood audio system that could simulate how different noises would sound in different spaces. Washington Post, "Creaks, clacks and clicks: Making the scary sounds of ‘Little Nightmares 2′," 10 Apr. 2021 Bravery is of course at the core of this talk, in particular, the need to instill this sense of bravery in girls from a young age. Ashley Stahl, Forbes, "The 5 Best TED Talks To Watch Today," 5 Mar. 2021 Part of the committee's charge is to instill confidence in the vaccines, Omenka said. John Bacon, USA TODAY, "What is the ACIP? For a COVID vaccine to get cleared by the FDA, these 15 experts will vouch for its safety," 24 Nov. 2020 The broader task, as Rivera sees it, is to instill new habits of response among the formerly incarcerated. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, "What Makes the Difference Between Getting Out of Prison and Staying Out?," 9 Nov. 2020 So the first inning of Monday’s game didn’t instill immediate confidence. Dallas News, "Despite the results, Mike Foltynewicz gained confidence of his own in Rangers’ home opener," 6 Apr. 2021 During your Orkin consultation, a technician will identify the problem, clear your home of pests, take preventative measures against future pests, and instill an open line of communication in case pests return. Better Homes & Gardens, "The 3 Best Pest Control Companies (2021)," 22 Mar. 2021 Older games instill perseverance, too, to help get through tough times. Anne Mccarthy, Wired, "Why Retro-Looking Games Get So Much Love," 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

4 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Instill.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 May. 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

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

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu jedi training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
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!