“Encourage” Synonym Guide — Definition, Antonyms & Examples

Synonyms are words that are nearly the same in meaning. “Encourage” means “to give support, confidence, or hope to someone.” Synonyms for encourage include: bolster, give confidence, embolden, fire up, inspire, arouse, persuade, and inspire. In this article, we will explore some encourage synonym, their etymology and sentence examples.

Encourage — Etymology and Definition of the Word

The word ‘encourage’ comes from Middle English ‘encouragen,encoragen,’ from Anglo-Norman encoragier, and from Old French encoragier. Encourage is a verb with the following forms: singular simple present – encourages, present participle – encouraging, simple past and past participle – encouraged.

Encourage has the following definitions:

1. To mentally support, motivate, and give someone courage and hope.

  • Daniel’s mother encouraged him to apply for the scholarship, even though he wasn’t successful in his last attempt.

2. To strongly recommend or spur.

  • We encourage you to take your medications dutifully.
  • As a healthcare practitioner, I always encourage pregnant women to exercise and eat a balanced diet.

3. To foster or support something.

  • The government encouraged the use of computers in primary schools.
  • The school encourages grammar lessons for all students.

Encourage Synonym — Exploring Words with Similar Meanings

A synonym is a word with a similar meaning to another word. Below are the synonyms for the word ‘encourage.’

1. Motivate

The word ‘motivate’ is from motive + -ate, perhaps modeled on the French word ‘motiver’ or German ‘motivieren.’ To motivate is to provide someone with an incentive to do something; to cause or propel to action.

  • The Chief Executive Office gave all the employees a weekend bonus to motivate them.
  • I was motivated by Johnson’s story and decided to take steps.

2. Uplift

Uplift is from two words – the preposition ‘up,’ which means “to a higher place,” and lift ‘to elevate in rank or dignity.’ To uplift is to raise something or someone to a higher intellectual, moral or physical level. It is to aggravate or increase something.

  • His words uplifted my spirits.
  • The victory we encountered at the competition was a significant uplift for our team.
  • Excellent music uplifts my mind and spirit.

3. Cheer

‘Cheer’ is from the Middle English word ‘chere,’ from Old French ‘chere, chiere,’ and from Late Latin ‘cara.’ To cheer is to inspirit, encourage, applaud or gladden.

  • A spontaneous cheerwent up from the crowd to the performers.
  • I tried to cheer Mary up, but she was unmoved.
  • The speaker received a thunderous cheer from the audience.

4. Spur

Spur originates from Middle English spure, spore, Old English spura, spora, and Proto-West Germanic *sporō. Also, from Proto-Germanic *spurô and Proto-Indo-European *sper-, *sperw- (“to twitch, push, fidget, be quick”). To spur is to urge action, incite, stimulate or encourage.

  • His speech spurred us to action.
  • This book is an excellent spur to a child’s imagination.
  • The interschool competition is a spurto modernization.

Other synonyms for encourage are hearten, energize, inspire, brighten, reassure, boost, stir up, stimulate, vitalize and strengthen.

Antonyms for Encourage — Exploring Words with Opposite Meanings

1. Discourage

The word ‘discourage’ comes from the Middle French word ‘descourager’ (modern French décourager), Old French descouragier, and des- and corage. To discourage means extinguishing the courage of, disheartening, and depressing the spirits of something or someone.

  • Don’t get discouraged by the workload: you’ll finish in good time.
  • You can’t talk to struggling students that way; you’ll discourage them from trying again.

2. Dissuade

Dissuade is from the Middle French word ‘dissuader,’ from Latin dissuādeō (to advise against), from dis– (“away from”, “asunder”) + suādeō (“recommend”, “advise”, “urge”). To dissuade is to convince someone not to do something.

  • Julian dissuaded her sister from marrying the prince.
  • James dissuaded his wife from quitting her job.

3. Depress

The word ‘depress’ is from the Middle English word ‘depressen,’ from Old French ‘depresser,’ from Latin ‘dēpressus,’ perfect participle of ‘dēprimō (“to press down, to weigh down”), from dē- (“off, away, down, out”) +‎ premō (“to press”). To depress is to bring down, humble, or abase.

  • Lack of adequate sleep depresses me.
  • Lower productivity depresses an organization’s success.
shallow focus photography of white mug and succulent plant on table
Photo by John-Mark Smith on Unsplash

To Wrap Up

Encourage is a verb that defines the act of “supporting, advising, or recommending.” The most popular encourage synonym is ‘motivate.’ Other synonyms are uplift, cheer, spur, inspire and brighten.

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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