ingrain 1 of 2

variants also engrain
as in to inculcate
to cause (as a person) to become filled or saturated with a certain quality or principle the journalism professor has long ingrained his students with a deep respect for their chosen profession

Synonyms & Similar Words


Antonyms & Near Antonyms

as in to etch
to produce a vivid impression of the third-world privation he had witnessed forever ingrained itself upon the young doctor's memory

Synonyms & Similar Words

Antonyms & Near Antonyms



2 of 2


Synonym Chooser

How does the verb ingrain differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of ingrain are imbue, infuse, inoculate, leaven, and suffuse. While all these words mean "to introduce one thing into another so as to affect it throughout," ingrain, used only in the passive or past participle, suggests the deep implanting of a quality or trait.

clung to ingrained habits

When is it sensible to use imbue instead of ingrain?

The words imbue and ingrain are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, imbue implies the introduction of a quality that fills and permeates the whole being.

imbue students with intellectual curiosity

Where would infuse be a reasonable alternative to ingrain?

While the synonyms infuse and ingrain are close in meaning, infuse implies a pouring in of something that gives new life or significance.

new members infused enthusiasm into the club

In what contexts can inoculate take the place of ingrain?

In some situations, the words inoculate and ingrain are roughly equivalent. However, inoculate implies an imbuing or implanting with a germinal idea and often suggests stealth or subtlety.

an electorate inoculated with dangerous ideas

When is leaven a more appropriate choice than ingrain?

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

a serious play leavened with comic moments

When might suffuse be a better fit than ingrain?

The synonyms suffuse and ingrain are sometimes interchangeable, but suffuse implies a spreading through of something that gives an unusual color or quality.

a room suffused with light

Thesaurus Entries Near ingrain

Cite this Entry

“Ingrain.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jun. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on ingrain

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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