Synonyms & Antonyms of encourage

1 to fill with courage or strength of purpose
  • a pep talk that encouraged the team to get out there and win

Synonyms for encourage

Words Related to encourage

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Antonyms for encourage

2 to help the growth or development of
  • asserted that the government should be encouraging small businesses, not smothering them with regulations

Synonyms for encourage

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Antonyms for encourage

3 to rouse to strong feeling or action
  • the movie's cheap special effects will not encourage audiences to sit on the edge of their seats but to roll in the aisles with laughter

Synonyms for encourage

Words Related to encourage

Phrases Synonymous with encourage

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4 to try to persuade (someone) through earnest appeals to follow a course of action
  • the pastor continues to encourage the couple to work out their problems in hopes of saving their marriage

Synonyms for encourage

Words Related to encourage

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See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About encourage

How does the verb encourage differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of encourage are embolden, hearten, and inspirit. While all these words mean "to fill with courage or strength of purpose," encourage suggests the raising of one's confidence especially by an external agency.

the teacher's praise encouraged the students to greater efforts

When might embolden be a better fit than encourage?

While the synonyms embolden and encourage are close in meaning, embolden implies the giving of courage sufficient to overcome timidity or reluctance.

emboldened by her first success, she tried an even more difficult climb

When is hearten a more appropriate choice than encourage?

The words hearten and encourage can be used in similar contexts, but hearten implies the lifting of dispiritedness or despondency by an infusion of fresh courage or zeal.

a hospital patient heartened by good news

Where would inspirit be a reasonable alternative to encourage?

The meanings of inspirit and encourage largely overlap; however, inspirit, somewhat literary, implies instilling life, energy, courage, or vigor into something.

patriots inspirited the people to resist

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Learn More about encourage

Time Traveler for encourage

Time Traveler

The first known use of encourage was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Cite this Entry

“Encourage.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Mar. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on encourage

Dictionary: Definition of encourage

Nglish: Translation of encourage for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of encourage for Arabic Speakers

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