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

  • transitive v. To introduce by gradual, persistent efforts; implant: "Morality . . . may be instilled into their minds” ( Thomas Jefferson).
  • transitive v. To pour in (medicine, for example) drop by drop.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To cause a quality to become part of someone's nature.
  • v. To pour in (medicine, for example) drop by drop.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To drop in; to pour in drop by drop.
  • transitive v. To infuse (knowledge or attitudes) into the mind of another, slowly or gradually; to impart gradually; to cause to be imbibed.

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

  • v. produce or try to produce a vivid impression of
  • v. enter drop by drop
  • v. impart gradually
  • v. fill, as with a certain quality
  • v. teach and impress by frequent repetitions or admonitions


Middle English instillen, from Latin īnstīllāre : in-, into; see in-2 + stīllāre, to drip, drop (from stīlla, drop).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin īnstillō. (Wiktionary)


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  • Because, you know what, I think your parents kind of instill that in you.

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  • To do that, he needs to find a talented performer who has a sound work ethic, which he said is something he wants to "instill" in the competition.

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  • He reported that the various branches of the Iranian military had no tradition of cooperation because the Shah wanted to keep them in isolation from each other, and we could do little to instill collaboration.

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  • Eugene Debs, the principal leader of the Socialist Party at the turn of the century, declared it his mission to “plant benevolence in the heart of stone, instill the love of sobriety into the putrid mind of debauchery, and create industry out of idleness.”

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  • It felt like the seiki that I had helped instill in my son years ago in our home when he was suffering from bronchitis.

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  • They make you feel important and instill you with power.

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  • But I think they are rather intended to instill in us a sensitivity to when and how we should reply to a person.

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  • I wanted Janet to trust me so I could instill new habits into her life.

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