from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To drink.
  • transitive v. To absorb or take in as if by drinking: "The whole body . . . imbibes delight through every pore” ( Henry David Thoreau).
  • transitive v. To receive and absorb into the mind: "Gladstone had . . . imbibed a strong prejudice against Americans” ( Philip Magnus).
  • transitive v. Obsolete To permeate; saturate.
  • intransitive v. To drink alcoholic beverages.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To drink (used frequently of alcoholic beverages).
  • v. To take in; as, to imbibe knowledge.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To drink in; to absorb; to soak up; to suck or take in; to receive as by drinking.
  • transitive v. To receive or absorb into the mind and retain
  • transitive v. To saturate; to imbue.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To drink in; absorb by or as if by drinking: as, a sponge imbibes moisture.
  • To receive or admit into the mind; imbue one's mind with: as, to imbibe errors.
  • To cause to drink in; imbue.
  • To drink; absorb liquid or moisture.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. receive into the mind and retain
  • v. take in, also metaphorically
  • v. take (gas, light or heat) into a solution
  • v. take in liquids


Middle English embiben, to soak up, saturate, from Latin imbibere, to drink in, imbibe : in-, in; see in-2 + bibere, to drink; see pō(i)- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin prefix im- ("im-") + bibere ("to drink"), whence also beverage (via Old French). (Wiktionary)



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