[verb in-greyn; adjective, noun in-greyn]

verb (used with object)

to implant or fix deeply and firmly, as in the nature or mind.



yarn, wool, etc., dyed before manufacture.
an ingrain carpet.


Also engrain (for defs 1, 2).

Origin of ingrain

1760–70; orig. phrase (dyed) in grain (i.e., with kermes)

Synonyms for ingrain Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ingrain

Historical Examples of ingrain

  • The door was ajar, and he stepped into a little hall covered with ingrain carpet.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • A good velvet carpet will last just twice as long as an ingrain one.

  • In 1830 he commenced the manufacture of ingrain carpeting, which he continued for 18 years.

    Men of Our Times

    Harriet Beecher Stowe

  • They have an ingrain conviction that it is you who are wrong, not them.

  • What must have been her experiences in life to ingrain fear and distrust in her soul at that rate?

    The Harvester

    Gene Stratton Porter

British Dictionary definitions for ingrain



verb (ɪnˈɡreɪn) (tr)

to impress deeply on the mind or nature; instil
archaic to dye into the fibre of (a fabric)

adjective (ˈɪnˌɡreɪn)

variants of ingrained
(of woven or knitted articles, esp rugs and carpets) made of dyed yarn or of fibre that is dyed before being spun into yarn

noun (ˈɪnˌɡreɪn)

  1. a carpet made from ingrained yarn
  2. such yarn

Word Origin for ingrain

C18: from the phrase dyed in grain dyed with kermes through the fibre
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 ingrain

1766, see engrain. Figurative use, of qualities, habits, etc., attested from 1851 (in ingrained). Of dyed carpets, etc., 1766, from in grain.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper