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Pronunciation (US): 

 Dictionary entry overview: What does encourage mean? 

  The verb ENCOURAGE has 3 senses:

1. contribute to the progress or growth of
2. inspire with confidence; give hope or courage to
3. spur on

  Familiarity information: ENCOURAGE used as a verb is uncommon.

 Dictionary entry details 


Sense 1encourage [BACK TO TOP]


Contribute to the progress or growth of

Classified under:

Verbs of political and social activities and events


encourage; promote; further; boost; advance

Context example:

I am promoting the use of computers in the classroom

Hypernyms (to "encourage" is one way to...):

back up; support (give moral or psychological support, aid, or courage to)

Troponyms (each of the following is one way to "encourage"):

feed (support or promote)

carry (take further or advance)

help (contribute to the furtherance of)

spur (incite or stimulate)

foster; further (promote the growth of)

connive at; wink at (give one's silent approval to)

conduce; contribute; lead (be conducive to)

Sentence frames:

Somebody ----s something
Somebody ----s somebody
Something ----s somebody
Something ----s something

Sentence example:

They encourage him to write the letter

Sense 2encourage [BACK TO TOP]


Inspire with confidence; give hope or courage to

Classified under:

Verbs of feeling

Hypernyms (to "encourage" is one way to...):

animate; enliven; exalt; inspire; invigorate (heighten or intensify)


hope (be optimistic; be full of hope; have hopes)

Troponyms (each of the following is one way to "encourage"):

barrack; cheer; exhort; inspire; pep up; urge; urge on (urge on or encourage especially by shouts)

goad; spur (give heart or courage to)

bring out (encourage to be less reserved)

draw out (make more sociable)

cheer; embolden; hearten; recreate (give encouragement to)

hollo (encourage somebody by crying hollo)

foster; nurture (help develop, help grow)

Sentence frames:

Somebody ----s somebody
Something ----s somebody

Sentence example:

The good news will encourage her


discourage (deprive of courage or hope; take away hope from; cause to feel discouraged)

Sense 3encourage [BACK TO TOP]


Spur on

Classified under:

Verbs of telling, asking, ordering, singing

Context example:

His financial success encouraged him to look for a wife

Hypernyms (to "encourage" is one way to...):

cause; get; have; induce; make; stimulate (cause to do; cause to act in a specified manner)

Sentence frame:

Somebody ----s somebody to INFINITIVE

Sentence example:

They encourage him to write the letter

 Learn English with... Proverbs of the week 
"Try not to become a man of success but a man of value." (English proverb)

"If the thought is good, your place and path are good; if the thought is bad, your place and path are bad." (Bhutanese proverb)

"Covering one's own ears while stealing a bell." (Chinese proverb)

"A crazy father and mother make sensible children." (Corsican proverb)

 ENCOURAGE: related words searches 

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