imbue

as in to suffuse
to cause (as a person) to become filled or saturated with a certain quality or principle her training at the school for the deaf imbued her with a sense of purpose that she had never known before

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How does the verb imbue differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of imbue are infuse, ingrain, inoculate, leaven, and suffuse. While all these words mean "to introduce one thing into another so as to affect it throughout," imbue implies the introduction of a quality that fills and permeates the whole being.

imbue students with intellectual curiosity

When can infuse be used instead of imbue?

In some situations, the words infuse and imbue are roughly equivalent. However, infuse implies a pouring in of something that gives new life or significance.

new members infused enthusiasm into the club

When might ingrain be a better fit than imbue?

The words ingrain and imbue can be used in similar contexts, but ingrain, used only in the passive or past participle, suggests the deep implanting of a quality or trait.

clung to ingrained habits

In what contexts can inoculate take the place of imbue?

While the synonyms inoculate and imbue are close in meaning, inoculate implies an imbuing or implanting with a germinal idea and often suggests stealth or subtlety.

an electorate inoculated with dangerous ideas

When would leaven be a good substitute for imbue?

Although the words leaven and imbue have much in common, leaven implies introducing something that enlivens, tempers, or markedly alters the total quality.

a serious play leavened with comic moments

Where would suffuse be a reasonable alternative to imbue?

While in some cases nearly identical to imbue, suffuse implies a spreading through of something that gives an unusual color or quality.

a room suffused with light

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Cite this Entry

“Imbue.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/imbue. Accessed 24 Apr. 2024.

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