re·​cruit | \ ri-ˈkrüt How to pronounce recruit (audio) \
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

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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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

While one of the more touted quarterback recruits in program history, Mertz won't sail past the competition — Coan started four games last season and has enough talent to serve as a potential stopgap while Mertz gets up to speed. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, "The 10 biggest quarterback competitions in college football during fall camp," 6 Aug. 2019 Butler’s rise during the 2000s was never predicated on recruiting rankings. David Woods, Indianapolis Star, "Latest commit puts Butler on path to its highest-rated recruiting class ever," 5 Aug. 2019 The announcement was another blow to USC’s recruiting efforts in the 2020 class. Los Angeles Times, "Upland’s Justin Flowe is the latest top-level recruit to snub USC," 3 Aug. 2019 As the lieutenant running the department’s recruiting campaign, Tavares has worked to attract more black, Hispanic, Asian and female candidates to take the police exam. Mikala Kane,, "Good news this week: France honors World War II veterans from Connecticut, and a Glastonbury K-9 makes her first drug arrest," 2 Aug. 2019 Another Ohio State recruit is gone in defensive end Noah Potter. Matt Goul,, "Steve Trivisonno, Mentor take one more shot: 2019 football camp tour," 2 Aug. 2019 Even with a pair of top-three recruiting classes on campus, that’s a tall task. Nick Moyle,, "Texas Longhorns: 5 things to watch," 1 Aug. 2019 At 6-foot-4, 280 pounds, Moretti was one of the top offensive line recruits in the country for the 2017 class. Brian Howell, The Denver Post, "Colorado Buffaloes OL Jake Moretti to medically retire," 1 Aug. 2019 The 2020 college football recruiting cycle still has more than four months remaining before high school prospects can put pen to paper, but that doesn’t mean it’s too early to worry about the state of some programs., "Rivals national expert: Are USC Trojans reaching on recruiting trail?," 1 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

There are obviously significant differences between white supremacists and Islamic State recruits. Los Angeles Times, "White supremacists and Islamic State recruits have more in common than you might think," 7 Aug. 2019 In order to give these new recruits time to build their strength and skill level, Hoover will field a Freshman/Sophomore team this fall. Charles Rich, Glendale News-Press, "Looking Back: Hoover football, boys’ water polo make most noise during 2018-19 campaign," 6 Aug. 2019 As Volleyball Magazine’s No. 1 men’s volleyball recruit in the nation in 2017, Broadneck graduate Jaylen Jasper sat among the other new Stanford student-athletes as they were presented with the question. Giana Han,, "Broadneck grad Jaylen Jasper eager to reach volleyball potential at Stanford," 5 Aug. 2019 There are self-starter recruits who, gathering in social media’s dark corners, drive their own radicalization. New York Times, "White Terrorism Shows ‘Stunning’ Parallels to Islamic State’s Rise," 5 Aug. 2019 After Smith’s firing, Meyer was trying to answer questions from other recruits. Doug Lesmerises,, "Urban Meyer could have let Zach Smith go to Alabama .... but otherwise Ohio State documents don’t change much: Doug Lesmerises," 3 Aug. 2019 Chameleon BX is promoted as offering top recruits physical and mental training for the NBA draft through the assistance of former NBA coaches. Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY, "Five-star prospect skipping college to train for 2021 NBA draft," 1 Aug. 2019 Copeland arrived from Pensacola Escambia, the high school that produced Emmitt Smith, as an Under Armour All-American and the top-rated recruit in the Gators’ 2018, ranking No. Edgar Thompson,, "UF WR Jacob Copeland making strides after injury-riddled start with Gators," 29 July 2019 Dory recruits her boyfriend Drew and her best friends Portia and Elliott to her quest, and all five characters become very specific sketches of a particular type of 20-something ridiculousness. Emily Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "Search Party does everything Big Little Lies did but better and with laughs," 26 July 2019

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.

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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

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Statistics for recruit

Last Updated

9 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for recruit

The first known use of recruit was in 1642

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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 How to pronounce recruit (audio) \
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 How to pronounce recruit (audio) \

Medical Definition of recruit

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

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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).


a period when something is suspended

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