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

So the brainpower on our shows is strong enough to be recruited by the Patriots., "Dave O’Brien," 15 Sep. 2019 Both studied at the university, though Ortiz was on his way to becoming a painter when he was recruited into the Ballet Folclórico. Anne Gelhaus, The Mercury News, "New programs keep Los Lupeños on its toes after 50 years," 13 Sep. 2019 CBS News uncovered dozens more people who were recruited by other marketers. CBS News, "Genetic testing scam preys on seniors' cancer fears and may be costing taxpayers millions," 12 Sep. 2019 Boudreaux was a hot commodity out of high school, recruited by Alabama, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Clemson before signing with Notre Dame in 2016. Matt Murschel,, "UCF’s Parker Boudreaux thrilled to block for fellow Notre Dame transfer Brandon Wimbush," 27 Aug. 2019 Maliq Carr Vitals: 6-5, 230 Senior wide receiver/safety, Oak Park: One of the top combo athletes in the state, he is being recruited by both Division I football and basketball coaches. Mick Mccabe, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan high school football 2019: Mick McCabe's top 25 players," 23 Aug. 2019 All 20,000 African American Marines who were recruited from 1942 to 1949 received boot camp training at the segregated Montford Point Camp in North Carolina. William Langhorne, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee veteran receives Congressional Gold Medal for being one of the first African American Marines," 18 Aug. 2019 Anderson, a senior, had 43 tackles last season and is being recruited by USD, Army and Columbia among others. John Maffei, San Diego Union-Tribune, "2019 Avocado League prep football preview," 17 Aug. 2019 Jackson is being recruited hard by Michigan and Michigan State, and Memphis recently jumped in, too. Danielle Lerner, The Courier-Journal, "Multiple Louisville basketball targets in the Class of 2020 set visit dates," 14 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Division I Committee on Infractions found an associate head coach violated NCAA ethical conduct rules by directing a former assistant director of basketball operations to provide impermissible benefits to a recruit. Shannon Ryan,, "DePaul and Dave Leitao are working on a multiyear contract extension, the university announces," 12 Sep. 2019 These absences could potentially give opportunities to summer recruits Hirving Lozano and Fernando Llorente to stake claims in the starting XI., "Key Napoli Duo Still Doubtful for Liverpool Champions League Clash With Injuries," 12 Sep. 2019 When officials were setting up the 87th academy, the city made job offers to 36 potential recruits, but 10 declined the offer. San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego Fire-Rescue faces challenges in recruiting, retaining firefighters," 5 Sep. 2019 Mullen came into Saturday night needing to prove to fans that last year wasn’t a fluke and needing to prove to recruits that his second-year program is ahead of Diaz’s first-year program. Mike Bianchi,, "Gators edge 'Canes in a season opener finally worth watching | Commentary," 24 Aug. 2019 Thomas was a four-star recruit who has played like a five-star lineman in a conference typically unkind to teenagers in the trenches. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, "The 10 best offensive lineman in college football for the 2019 season," 12 May 2019 Only played three games in Bosnia before a shoulder injury, but is a former five-star recruit and McDonald's All-American. Chapel Fowler, charlotteobserver, "Potential targets for Hornets at 11, 45, 55? They're here, with links to more coverage," 21 June 2018 Cavazos is a four-star recruit rated as the nation’s No. Stephen Means,, "Ohio State football commits Lejond Cavazos, Kyle McCord face off on ESPN2 tonight: Buckeyes recruiting news," 13 Sep. 2019 That was back when Hilinski was still only a three-star recruit and back when his only other scholarship offers were from Boston College, Fresno State, San Jose State and Montana State. Matt Zenitz |, al, "Former Alabama intern now a personnel star at South Carolina," 12 Sep. 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

18 Oct 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).


to fake an opponent out of position

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