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[im-byoo] /ɪmˈbyu/
verb (used with object), imbued, imbuing.
to impregnate or inspire, as with feelings, opinions, etc.:
The new political leader was imbued with the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi.
to saturate or impregnate with moisture, color, etc.
to imbrue.
Origin of imbue
1545-55; < Latin imbuere to wet, drench
Related forms
imbuement, noun
preimbue, verb (used with object), preimbued, preimbuing.
unimbued, adjective
Can be confused
imbrue, imbue.
1. charge, infect, fire. 2. permeate, infuse, tincture, soak. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for imbue
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He could wait until his valour, somewhat cowed, should return again, and imbue him with a fresh impulse.

    The Quadroon Mayne Reid
  • This thought should imbue a man of science with humility rather than with pride.

  • The Christian missionary will get hold of him in bulk, so to speak, and imbue him with the higher theology.

    Idle Ideas in 1905 Jerome K. Jerome
  • By some subtle process she contrived to imbue the baby also with this idea.

    Novel Notes Jerome K. Jerome
  • Jemmy the Scrubber, unable to imbue the rest of his watch with his own restless activity, gave me no peace night or day.

    The Log of a Sea-Waif Frank T. Bullen
  • They had never been able to imbue her with the superstition pertaining to the Godolphins.

    The Shadow of Ashlydyat Mrs. Henry Wood
British Dictionary definitions for imbue


verb -bues, -buing, -bued (transitive) usually foll by with
to instil or inspire (with ideals, principles, etc): his sermons were imbued with the spirit of the Reformation
(rare) to soak, esp with moisture, dye, etc
Derived Forms
imbuement, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin imbuere to stain, accustom
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 imbue

early 15c., "to keep wet; to soak, saturate;" also figuratively "to cause to absorb" (feelings, opinions, etc.), from Latin imbuere "moisten," of uncertain origin, perhaps from the same root as imbrication. Cf. also Old French embu, past participle of emboivre, from Latin imbibere "drink in, soak in" (see imbibe), which might have influenced the English word. Related: Imbued; imbuing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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