Pronunciation: (en-kûr'ij, -kur'-),[key] —v.t.,-aged, -ag•ing. 1. to inspire with courage, spirit, or confidence: His coach encouraged him throughout the marathon race to keep on running. 2. to stimulate by assistance, approval, etc.: One of the chief duties of a teacher is to encourage students. 3. to promote, advance, or foster: Poverty often encourages crime.