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[en-kur-ij, -kuhr-] /ɛnˈkɜr ɪdʒ, -ˈkʌr-/
verb (used with object), encouraged, encouraging.
to inspire with courage, spirit, or confidence:
His coach encouraged him throughout the marathon race to keep on running.
to stimulate by assistance, approval, etc.:
One of the chief duties of a teacher is to encourage students.
to promote, advance, or foster:
Poverty often encourages crime.
Origin of encourage
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English encoragen < Anglo-French, Middle French encorag(i)er. See en-1, courage
Related forms
encourager, noun
encouragingly, adverb
overencourage, verb (used with object), overencouraged, overencouraging.
preencourage, verb (used with object), preencouraged, preencouraging.
reencourage, verb (used with object), reencouraged, reencouraging.
unencouraged, adjective
unencouraging, adjective
well-encouraged, adjective
1. embolden, hearten, reassure. 2. urge; support, aid, help.
1. discourage, dishearten. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for encourage
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • encourage the building of the church at Mount Carmel all you can.

    The Story of a Life J. Breckenridge Ellis
  • I should think Hester would have more sense than to encourage a boy in his position.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • "Well, I wanted to encourage the boys who were selling them," Maurice explained.

    Sinister Street, vol. 2 Compton Mackenzie
  • We should encourage the establishment of American steamship lines.

  • Everyone talked loudly to the pitcher, as much, perhaps, to tranquilize his own nerves as to encourage Mason.

    The Lucky Seventh Ralph Henry Barbour
British Dictionary definitions for encourage


verb (transitive)
to inspire (someone) with the courage or confidence (to do something)
to stimulate (something or someone to do something) by approval or help; support
Derived Forms
encouragement, noun
encourager, noun
encouraging, adjective
encouragingly, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for encourage

early 15c., from Old French encoragier "make strong, hearten," from en- "make, put in" (see en- (1)) + corage (see courage). Related: Encouraged; encouraging.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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