Synonym Chooser

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

Thesaurus Entries Near encourage

Cite this Entry

“Encourage.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/encourage. Accessed 28 Sep. 2023.

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