verb (used with object), im·brued, im·bru·ing.

to stain: He refused to imbrue his hands with the blood of more killing.
to impregnate or imbue (usually followed by with or in): They are imbrued with the follies of youth.

Also embrue.

Origin of imbrue

1400–50; late Middle English enbrewen < Middle French embreuver to cause to drink in, soak, drench < Vulgar Latin *imbiberāre, derivative of Latin imbibere to imbibe
Related formsim·brue·ment, noun
Can be confusedimbrue imbue Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for imbrue

Historical Examples of imbrue

  • But Edward dared not imbrue his hands in the blood of great churchmen.

  • But our young men are resolved to imbrue their hands in the blood of the whites.

    The Fort Dearborn Massacre

    Linai Taliaferro Helm

  • There would be "a general unwillingness to imbrue their hands in the blood of their brethren."


    Rowland E. Robinson

  • But could he imbrue his hand in the blood of his rival and then present it for acceptance?

  • Men generally do not specially desire to imbrue their hands in the blood of other men.

    Life of Cicero

    Anthony Trollope

British Dictionary definitions for imbrue



verb -brues, -bruing or -brued (tr) rare

to stain, esp with blood
to permeate or impregnate
Derived Formsimbruement or embruement, noun

Word Origin for imbrue

C15: from Old French embreuver, from Latin imbibere imbibe
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 imbrue

early 15c., "to soak, steep;" mid-15c., "to stain, soil," from Old French embreuvere "to moisten," a metathesis of embeuvrer, from em- (see im-) + -bevrer, ultimately from Latin bibere "to drink" (see imbibe). Or perhaps from Old French embroue "soiled," ultimately from boue "mud, dirt."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper