When you encourage someone, you give him or her the courage or confidence to do something, like when you encourage your little brother to play harder by yelling his name from the sidelines of the soccer field.

The word encourage comes from the Old French word encoragier, meaning "make strong, hearten." When you encourage the tomato plants in your garden, you water them to promote their growth and health. Encourage can also mean to inspire with hope, like when you encourage your friends to try out for the school play by complimenting their singing and acting talents.

Definitions of encourage
  1. verb
    inspire with confidence; give hope or courage to
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    deprive of courage or hope; take away hope from; cause to feel discouraged
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    barrack, cheer, exhort, inspire, pep up, root on, urge, urge on
    spur on or encourage especially by cheers and shouts
    foster, nurture
    help develop, help grow
    encourage somebody by crying hollo
    buoy, cheer, embolden, hearten, recreate
    give encouragement to
    draw out
    make more sociable
    bring out
    encourage to be less reserved
    goad, spur
    give heart or courage to
    act as a cheerleader in a sports event
    keep going, patronage, patronise, patronize, support
    be a regular customer or client of
    buck up, take heart
    gain courage
    serve, serve well
    promote, benefit, or be useful or beneficial to
    type of:
    animate, enliven, exalt, inspire, invigorate
    heighten or intensify
  2. verb
    spur on
    “His financial success encouraged him to look for a wife”
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    type of:
    cause, get, have, induce, make, stimulate
    cause to do; cause to act in a specified manner
  3. verb
    contribute to the progress or growth of
    synonyms: advance, boost, further, promote
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    connive at, wink at
    give one's silent approval to
    foster, further
    promote the growth of
    incite or stimulate
    contribute to the furtherance of
    take further or advance
    support or promote
    conduce, contribute, lead
    be conducive to
    type of:
    back up, support
    give moral or psychological support, aid, or courage to
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