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

  • transitive v. To impress (something) upon the mind of another by frequent instruction or repetition; instill: inculcating sound principles.
  • transitive v. To teach (others) by frequent instruction or repetition; indoctrinate: inculcate the young with a sense of duty.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To teach by repeated instruction.
  • v. To induce understanding or a particular sentiment in a person or persons.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To teach and impress by frequent repetitions or admonitions; to urge on the mind.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To impress by frequent admonitions, or by forcible statement or argument; enforce or stamp upon the mind.
  • Synonyms Ingraft, Instil, etc. See implant.

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

  • v. teach and impress by frequent repetitions or admonitions


Latin inculcāre, inculcāt-, to force upon : in-, on; see in-2 + calcāre, to trample (from calx, calc-, heel).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From inculcātus, perfect passive participle of inculcō ("impress upon, force upon"), from in + calcō ("tread upon, trample"), from calx ("heel"). (Wiktionary)



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  • Also a surprising etymology, because of the vowel change. The Old Latin rule for unstressed vowels would give incelc- from calc-. Then the dark l rounds and backs and raises the vowel (as in the set velle, volo, vult).

    September 28, 2010

  • Nice etymology: from Latin "incalcare," stamp in, press upon, itself from "calcare," tread, so ultimately from "calx," heel, and therefore possibly cousin to "caliga," boot, and to the Roman Emperor Caligula (nickname meaning "little boot").

    September 27, 2010

  • There's no escaping it--WeirdNet is just...bizarre.

    November 29, 2007

  • WeirdNet is silent on imbued, but weirdly normal on imbue.

    November 29, 2007

  • Now I'm curious what Weirdnet will say about the word imbued. Guess there's only one way to find out.

    November 29, 2007

  • I read inculcate in a textbook and didn't know what it meant, but loved it anyway because it sounded like milk & honey - I walked around dropping it into sentences here and there, because yeah - it sounds like a smell of an all-day Sunday dinner, so says jimtoole. Then one day a cruel friend inculcated me into the true meaning of inculcate and I was crushed. It seriously has a discrepancy between how cool it sounds and how cool it is.

    November 29, 2007

  • how can you not love this word? it is has the warmth and smell of an all day sunday dinner, but for education.

    October 29, 2007