en·​cour·​age | \ in-ˈkər-ij How to pronounce encourage (audio) , -ˈkə-rij, en- \
encouraged; encouraging

Definition of encourage

transitive verb

1a : to inspire with courage, spirit, or hope : hearten she was encouraged to continue by her early success
b : to attempt to persuade : urge they encouraged him to go back to school
2 : to spur on : stimulate warm weather encourages plant growth
3 : to give help or patronage to : foster government grants designed to encourage conservation

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Other Words from encourage

encourager noun

Choose the Right Synonym for encourage

encourage, inspirit, hearten, embolden 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 inspirit, somewhat literary, implies instilling life, energy, courage, or vigor into something. patriots inspirited the people to resist hearten implies the lifting of dispiritedness or despondency by an infusion of fresh courage or zeal. a hospital patient heartened by good news embolden implies the giving of courage sufficient to overcome timidity or reluctance. emboldened by her first success, she tried an even more difficult climb

Examples of encourage in a Sentence

They encouraged us in our work. Encourage each other with kind words. The program is meant to encourage savings. Warm weather encourages plant growth. He claims the new regulations will encourage investment. He claims the new regulations will encourage people to invest. We want to encourage students to read more. My parents encouraged me to go back to college. They encouraged her to go.
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Recent Examples on the Web Putting something like that on film will encourage defensive coordinators to think twice before stacking the box with safeties on a regular basis. Michael Cohen, Detroit Free Press, 20 Sep. 2021 But the Browns strongly encourage all individuals regardless of vaccination status to wear masks in indoor spaces like the main concourse, Browns Pro Shop, elevators and clubs. Marc Bona, cleveland, 19 Sep. 2021 Lawmakers and supporters of Assembly Bill 122 say the bill would improve cyclists’ safety, encourage more people to ride bikes, and bring state law up to speed with the behaviors and best practices already used by experienced cyclists. Ricardo Cano, San Francisco Chronicle, 18 Sep. 2021 Police encourage anyone with knowledge of other threats made to Mesa schools to call 480-644-2211. Perry Vandell, The Arizona Republic, 18 Sep. 2021 Instead of attacking a particular problem head on, these programs encourage people to act nicely toward one another. David Hessekiel, Forbes, 17 Sep. 2021 With works from a range of cultural and religious traditions, this book will encourage 4- to 10-year-olds to count their blessings. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, 17 Sep. 2021 Social media users, bloggers and opinion writers had laid into the competitive nature of a show meant to celebrate and encourage activism, among other concerns. NBC News, 16 Sep. 2021 Social media users, bloggers and opinion writers had laid into the competitive nature of a show meant to celebrate and encourage activism, among other concerns. Chris Willman Variety, chicagotribune.com, 16 Sep. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'encourage.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of encourage

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for encourage

Middle English encoragen, from Anglo-French encorager, from en- + curage courage

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Time Traveler for encourage

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near encourage

encounter group



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Statistics for encourage

Last Updated

23 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Encourage.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/encourage. Accessed 25 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for encourage



English Language Learners Definition of encourage

: to make (someone) more determined, hopeful, or confident
: to make (something) more appealing or more likely to happen
: to make (someone) more likely to do something : to tell or advise (someone) to do something


en·​cour·​age | \ in-ˈkər-ij How to pronounce encourage (audio) \
encouraged; encouraging

Kids Definition of encourage

1 : make more determined, hopeful, or confident : hearten Cheering fans encouraged the team.
2 : to give help or support to : aid Warm weather encourages plant growth.

Other Words from encourage

encouragingly adverb "Great job," she said encouragingly.

More from Merriam-Webster on encourage

Nglish: Translation of encourage for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of encourage for Arabic Speakers


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