Definition of instill in English:

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Pronunciation: /inˈstil/
(British also instil)


[with object]
1Gradually but firmly establish (an idea or attitude, especially a desirable one) in a person’s mind: how do we instill a sense of rightness in today’s youth?
More example sentences
  • A strong nationalist belief was instilled in each and every member of the family.
  • We know how much, for instance, racism is instilled in people's minds to create divisions.
  • It is vital to instill an attitude of fitness at a young age.
inculcate, implant, ingrain, impress, imprint, introduce;
engender, produce, generate, induce, inspire, promote, foster;
drum (into), drill (into)
imbue, inspire, infuse, inculcate, inject;
2Put (a substance) into something in the form of liquid drops: she was told how to instill eye drops
More example sentences
  • The drops are instilled to locally anesthetize the surgical eye and reduce the blink reflex in both eyes.
  • The circulating nurse instills tetracaine hydrochloride drops to decrease the burning sensation of the diluted povidone-iodine solution.
  • Fluid is instilled around the veins, and they are then illuminated from beneath the skin with a powerful light source.



Pronunciation: /ˌinstəˈlāSH(ə)n/
Example sentences
  • From Wingate, Dayan learned the importance of surprise, cunning, compassion and the instillation of fear.
  • To quantitate the magnitude of neutrophilic lung inflammation, we investigated the cellular profile of BAL fluid of the lungs 24 hours after the intratracheal instillations.
  • In 20 healthy volunteers one dose of a 1-percent forskolin solution had no effect, whereas two instillations five minutes apart led to significant decreases in IOP and aqueous flow rate.


Example sentences
  • Goals include approval and instilment of general principles for professional ethics in fields of traditional and folk medicine and healing.


Late Middle English (sense 2): from Latin instillare, from in- 'into' + stillare 'to drop' (from stilla 'a drop').

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: in·still

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