re·​cruit | \ ri-ˈkrüt \
recruited; recruiting; recruits

Definition of recruit

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a(1) : to fill up the number of with new members : reinforce recruit an army
(2) : to enlist as a member of an armed service
b : to increase or maintain the number of America recruited her population from Europe
c : to secure the services of : engage, hire
d : to seek to enroll recruit prospective students
2 : replenish
3 : to restore or increase the health, vigor, or intensity of

intransitive verb

: to enlist new members



Definition of recruit (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a fresh or additional supply
2 : a newcomer to a field or activity specifically : a newly enlisted or drafted member of the armed forces
3 : a former enlisted man of the lowest rank in the army

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from recruit


recruiter noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for recruit

Synonyms: Verb

assume, employ, engage, fee [chiefly Scottish], hire, lay on [chiefly British], pay, place, retain, sign (up or on), take on

Synonyms: Noun

abecedarian, apprentice, babe, beginner, colt, cub, fledgling, freshman, greenhorn, neophyte, newbie, newcomer, novice, novitiate, punk, rook, rookie, tenderfoot, tyro, virgin

Antonyms: Verb

ax (or axe), can, discharge, dismiss, fire, sack

Antonyms: Noun

old hand, old-timer, vet, veteran

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of recruit in a Sentence


He was recruited by the army after high school. Public schools are recruiting new teachers. College football coaches spend a lot of time recruiting high school athletes. College football coaches spend a lot of time recruiting. Some parents don't think the military should be recruiting from high schools. We recruited a crew of volunteers to help us. I recruited my brother to drive us to the concert. She recruited four friends to distribute food to the homeless with her.


the newest recruit on the team She's one of the department's new recruits.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The film starts with hotshot programmer Milo Hoffman (Ryan Phillippe) getting recruited by tech tycoon Gary Winston (Tim Robbins), who runs a massive and ubiquitous computing company called NURV. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "Looking back at Antitrust, the movie where Bill Gates murders coders," 7 Sep. 2018 Attorney and Lakers season ticket holder Jacob Emrani, who put up 4 billboards recruiting LeBron in March, has paid for over 40 billboards for Paul George. Alysha Tsuji, For The Win, "Paul George teases Lakers fans in second episode of his NBA free agency series," 28 June 2018 In the acclaimed original, Emily Blunt plays a federal agent recruited to join a unit battling the drug war at the border, with a boss (Josh Brolin) fond of bending the rules and a lawman from Mexico (Benicio Del Toro) who sets those rules. Chris Foran, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'Sicario: Day of the Soldado'," 28 June 2018 Brionne Penny, recruited as an athlete out of Harbor City Narbonne High, made a verbal commitment Wednesday night to join the Aztecs’ 2019 recruiting class. Kirk Kenney,, "Aztecs get verbal commitment from Brionne Penny, the younger brother of former running back Rashaad Penny," 28 June 2018 The group included some flight attendants who were part of the 2007 study, and new participants recruited at five large U.S. airports, from airline unions and using social media. Conor Shine, ajc, "US flight attendants show higher rates of some cancers, study says," 26 June 2018 The initial trials included 3,234 participants recruited from 27 clinical centers around the country. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "The Science on Weight and Health," 26 June 2018 In addition to being recruited by several basketball powers, Metu also was courted by Harvard. Tom Orsborn, San Antonio Express-News, "Nigerian childhood paved way for Metu’s NBA journey," 26 June 2018 Some of the children, Mr. Sessions said, are targeted by drug cartels, recruited by gangs and fall into a life of drug addiction and crime. New York Times, "Border Officials Suspend Handing Over Migrant Families to Prosecutors," 25 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

And based on his social-media interactions with the other recruits, Latu seemed to enjoy himself. Adam Jude, The Seattle Times, "After ‘amazing’ weekend visit to UW, Huskies await decision from 4-star defensive end Laiatu Latu," 17 Dec. 2018 The recruits were allegedly branded with the organization's symbol and extorted with sensitive content including nude photos that they were asked to surrender to the organization as a kind of commitment. Sasha Savitsky, Fox News, "Catherine Oxenberg feels 'horrendous guilt' after bringing daughter into alleged sex cult," 6 Aug. 2018 Courier Journal's Jeff Greer talks about Josh Nickelberry and why the first recruit landed by Chris Mack at University of Louisville is a big deal. Jeff Greer, The Courier-Journal, "Big Board 2.0: Updated look at Class of 2019 prospects on Louisville basketball's wish list," 10 July 2018 Al-Shabab said three children were killed in this latest airstrike, and an elder in the town told The Associated Press that several young al-Shabab recruits were dead and the training school run by the extremists was largely destroyed. Abdi Guled, Fox News, "Somali officials: Airstrike kills or hurts several al-Shabab," 19 Sep. 2018 Among the new recruits at Friday’s ceremony was Joshua Winston, 19, of Germantown. Talia Richman,, "U.S. Army Secretary swears in new recruits, talks strategy at Fort Meade," 6 July 2018 The star recruit was the MaxPreps National Freshman of the Year in 2016. Brian Gosset, star-telegram, "Best of the best: DFW's Top 10 football teams in 2018," 6 July 2018 The Vanderbilt recruit went above and beyond Saturday night at Victory Field. Rich Torres, Indianapolis Star, "Andrean ace Michael Doolin leads 59ers to 3A title," 16 June 2018 His younger brother, Reece Beekman, is an elite basketball prospect who’s considered a four-star recruit by 247Sports and has offers from Virginia, Florida, LSU, USC, Wisconsin and others. Theo Lawson, The Seattle Times, "Entering Apple Cup, Cougars hold at No. 8 in College Football Playoff rankings," 20 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'recruit.' 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 recruit


1642, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a(1)


1645, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for recruit


French recrute, recrue fresh growth, new levy of soldiers, from Middle French, from recroistre to grow up again, from Latin recrescere, from re- + crescere to grow — more at crescent

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about recruit

Statistics for recruit

Last Updated

11 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for recruit

The first known use of recruit was in 1642

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for recruit



English Language Learners Definition of recruit

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to find suitable people and get them to join a company, an organization, the armed forces, etc.

: to form or build (a group, team, army, etc.) by getting people to join

: to persuade (someone) to join you in some activity or to help you



English Language Learners Definition of recruit (Entry 2 of 2)

: a person who has recently joined the armed forces

: a person who has recently joined a company, organization, etc.


re·​cruit | \ ri-ˈkrüt \
recruited; recruiting

Kids Definition of recruit

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to enlist as a member of the armed forces
2 : to get the services of The team recruited a new pitcher.



Kids Definition of recruit (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a newly enlisted member of the armed forces
2 : a newcomer to a group or field of activity


transitive verb
re·​cruit | \ ri-ˈkrüt \

Medical Definition of recruit

: to restore or increase the health, vigor, or intensity of

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on recruit

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with recruit

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for recruit

Spanish Central: Translation of recruit

Nglish: Translation of recruit for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of recruit for Arabic Speakers

Comments on recruit

What made you want to look up recruit? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


tremendous in size, volume, or degree

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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