Synonym Chooser

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

Thesaurus Entries Near imbue

Cite this Entry

“Imbue.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/imbue. Accessed 28 Nov. 2022.

More from Merriam-Webster on imbue

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!


The Great British Vocabulary Quiz

  • union jack speech bubble
  • Named after Sir Robert Peel, what are British police called?
True or False

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ