[ im-bahyb ]
/ ɪmˈbaɪb /

verb (used with object), im·bibed, im·bib·ing.

to consume (liquids) by drinking; drink: He imbibed great quantities of iced tea.
to absorb or soak up, as water, light, or heat: Plants imbibe moisture from the soil.
to take or receive into the mind, as knowledge, ideas, or the like: to imbibe a sermon; to imbibe beautiful scenery.

verb (used without object), im·bibed, im·bib·ing.

to drink, especially alcoholic beverages: Just a soft drink for me—I don't imbibe.
to absorb liquid or moisture.
Archaic. to soak or saturate; imbue.

Origin of imbibe

1350–1400; < Latin imbibere to drink in, equivalent to im- im-1 + bibere to drink; replacing Middle English enbiben < Middle French embiber < Latin, as above
Related formsim·bib·er, nounpre·im·bibe, verb (used with object), pre·im·bibed, pre·im·bib·ing.un·im·bibed, adjectiveun·im·bib·ing, adjective

Synonym study

1. See drink. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for imbiber

  • And the Imbiber, who was with difficulty keeping his lips in proper form, was glad enough to accept the invitation.

    Coffee and Repartee|John Kendrick Bangs
  • Cider is said to render the imbiber gout-proof and rheumatism-proof, but requires a long apprenticeship to render it palatable.

    In the Heart of Vosges|Matilda Betham-Edwards
  • At first the imbiber shakes as with the ague; and presently he begins to rave as if in delirium.

  • He had overheard the Idiot's confidences, as revealed to the genial Imbiber, regarding the sources of some of his ideas.

    Coffee and Repartee|John Kendrick Bangs

British Dictionary definitions for imbiber


/ (ɪmˈbaɪb) /


to drink (esp alcoholic drinks)
literary to take in or assimilate (ideas, facts, etc)to imbibe the spirit of the Renaissance
(tr) to take in as if by drinkingto imbibe fresh air
to absorb or cause to absorb liquid or moisture; assimilate or saturate
Derived Formsimbiber, noun

Word Origin for imbibe

C14: from Latin imbibere, from bibere to drink
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

Word Origin and History for imbiber



late 14c., from Old French imbiber, embiber "to soak into," from Latin imbibere "absorb, drink in, inhale," from assimilated form of in- "into, in, on, upon" (see in- (2)) + bibere "to drink," related to potare "to drink," from PIE *po(i)- "to drink" (see potion). Figurative sense of "mentally drink in" (knowledge, ideas, etc.) was the main one in classical Latin, first attested in English 1550s. Related: Imbibed; imbibing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper