• Instill (an attitude, idea, or habit) by persistent instruction.
  • Teach (someone) an attitude, idea, or habit by persistent instruction.

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Example Sentences

“As the oldest sibling, she felt an obligation to inculcate some dating manners to her younger brothers.”

“The lecturer was eager to inculcate principles of Asian philosophies to his students.”

“People who want to inculcate new health habits into their lifestyle could hire a personal trainer or ask friends to hold them accountable.”

Word Origin

Latin, mid-16th century

Why this word?

This verb will leave an imprint on your vocabulary; it comes from the Latin word “inculcare,” which roughly translates as “to tread into.” The act of instilling a particular idea, habit, or attitude into another person is similar to leaving a footprint behind in the soft earth — it creates a guide to rely on for future behavior. The two definitions aren’t very different from each other, but the first implies leading by example or guidance, and the second refers to direct teaching.

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