See more synonyms for instil on


verb (used with object)
  1. to infuse slowly or gradually into the mind or feelings; insinuate; inject: to instill courtesy in a child.
  2. to put in drop by drop.

Origin of instill

1525–35; < Latin instillāre, equivalent to in- in-2 + stillāre to drip; see distill
Related formsin·still·er, nounin·still·ment, nounpre·in·still, verb (used with object)
Can be confusedinstall instill

Synonyms for instill

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for instilled

Contemporary Examples of instilled

Historical Examples of instilled

  • It was she who had instilled some ambition into him, and he esteemed her the more for it.


    Emile Zola

  • Some poison must have been instilled into his veins; he could not recognize himself.


    Emile Zola

  • The tenderness, the devotedness of his mother had instilled into him an egotism that was ferocious.

    Therese Raquin

    Emile Zola

  • Orthodoxy had instilled a formal, but often spiritless faith.

  • Demagogues had not instilled in the minds of the ignorant that to be governed was to be oppressed.

British Dictionary definitions for instilled


US instill

verb -stils, -stills, -stilling or -stilled (tr)
  1. to introduce gradually; implant or infuse
  2. rare to pour in or inject in drops
Derived Formsinstiller, nouninstilment, US instillment or instillation, noun

Word Origin for instil

C16: from Latin instillāre to pour in a drop at a time, from stillāre to drip
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 instilled



also instil, early 15c., "to introduce (liquid, feelings, etc.) little by little," from Latin instillare "put in by drops, to drop, trickle," from in- "in" (see in- (2)) + stilla "a drop" (see distill). Related: Instilled; instilling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

instilled in Medicine


  1. To pour in drop by drop.
Related formsin′stil•lation (ĭn′stə-lāshən) n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.