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

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

This level of talent can only be recruited and retained with sustained funding and infrastructure. Thomas Kariuki, Quartz Africa, "African universities are battling to attract post-doctoral researchers," 31 Aug. 2019 Its mission is to secure, heal and transform the lives of impoverished Black children by inspiring, recruiting and mobilizing masses of caring Black men and women to mentor and nourish them. Donna M. Owens, Essence, "Commemorating 400 years Of Black History In Hampton, Virginia," 27 Aug. 2019 But even here her ingenuity is thwarted, when FAM shuts down her efforts to recruit her downliners to her jubilant water-aerobics classes at the park. Author: Hank Stuever, Anchorage Daily News, "Review: We’re buying what Kirsten Dunst is selling in ‘On Becoming a God in Central Florida’," 22 Aug. 2019 Reiter also recruited former Poka Lola and Tavernetta bartender Jesse Torres to create a cocktail menu that’s paired down and packed with classics. Josie Sexton, The Know, "This Highland restaurant is the summer opening we’ve been waiting for," 21 Aug. 2019 Mary-Jane recruited two friends who joined, then a few others who had been in Girl Scouts joined. Ramona Sentinel, "Boy Scout troop gains traction with six girls," 21 Aug. 2019 The 60,000 Bengali Muslims recruited in World War II were assigned mostly to military labour. Raghvendra Singh, Quartz India, "What Britain gained by partitioning the subcontinent into India and Pakistan," 9 Aug. 2019 In the bakery, somebody’s mama is making warm, all-butter flour tortillas (recruited from H-E-B). Alex Beggs, Bon Appétit, "What My Dream Grocery Store Looks Like," 3 Aug. 2019 Take this survey published in The American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology in 2008, in which researchers conducted an experiment on 1,271 people aged 18 to 49 who were recruited at three shopping locations in El Paso, Texas. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "Is Over-the-Counter Birth Control Really a Good Idea?," 2 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Claire Danahy, Chelmsford — The University of Massachusetts recruit is a two-Merrimack Valley Conference selection and returning Globe All-Scholastic. Jenna Ciccotelli,, "EMass field hockey: Players to Watch," 4 Sep. 2019 But Swinney had trouble reaching one receiver in particular: Kelvin Grant, a former four-star recruit who was a redshirt freshman when Swinney arrived. Tim Rohan,, "Faith, Football and the Fervent Religious Culture at Dabo Swinney's Clemson," 4 Sep. 2019 How Nick Saban identifies and successful recruits players like Lee and Harris is the secret to Alabama’s prolonged dominance of college football. Joseph Goodman, al, "Where does Nick Saban find these freshmen?," 3 Sep. 2019 The Beavers added transfers and recruits to upgrade the talent. oregonlive, "Oregon State long on belief, short on performance as Oklahoma State routs Beavers 52-36," 31 Aug. 2019 But Taggart needs to do something — anything — to send a message to FSU fans, administrators and potential recruits that his program is moving in the right direction. Mike Bianchi,, "Ouch! Boise State quickly lights fire under FSU coach Willie Taggart’s hot seat | Commentary," 31 Aug. 2019 The Trump administration has cracked down on immigrants in the military, all but shuttering a program that recruited immigrants with key language and medical abilities and expelling some recruits because of their family backgrounds. Maria Sacchetti, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump administration ends automatic citizenship for some children of military and federal workers born abroad," 29 Aug. 2019 Elkins’ top recruit is Issiah Nixon (No. 73 RB, No. Jack Marrion, Houston Chronicle, "Fort Bend area stocked with top football recruits," 27 Aug. 2019 The Longhorns are also without freshman Derrian Brown, a four-star recruit from Buford, Ga., who suffered a stroke in February. Nick Moyle,, "Texas has some concerns as the season opener appraoches," 26 Aug. 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.

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

6 Sep 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 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

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).


recurring in steady succession

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

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!