from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- transitive v. To inspire with hope, courage, or confidence; hearten.
- transitive v. To give support to; foster: policies designed to encourage private investment.
- transitive v. To stimulate; spur: burning the field to encourage new plant growth.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- v. To mentally support; to motivate, give courage, hope or spirit.
- v. To spur on, strongly recommend.
- v. To foster, give help or patronage
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- transitive v. To give courage to; to inspire with courage, spirit, or hope; to raise, or to increase, the confidence of; to animate; enhearten; to incite; to help forward; -- the opposite of
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- To give courage to; inspire with courage, spirit, or firmness of mind; incite to action or perseverance.
- To help forward; promote; give support to: as, to encourage manufactures.
- To make stronger.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- v. inspire with confidence; give hope or courage to
- v. spur on
- v. contribute to the progress or growth of
Middle English encouragen, from Old French encoragier : en-, causative pref.; see en-1 + corage, courage; see courage.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English encoragen, from Anglo-Norman encoragier, from Old French encoragier from en- + corage "courage". Displaced native Middle English belden, bielden ("to encourage") (from Old English bieldan ("to encourage")), Middle English bealden, balden ("to encourage") (from Old English bealdian ("to encourage, make bold")), Middle English herten ("to encourage, enhearten") (from Old English hiertan, hyrtan ("to enhearten")), Old English elnian ("to encourage, strengthen"). (Wiktionary)