early 15c., "to keep wet; to soak, saturate;" also figuratively "to cause to absorb" (feelings, opinions, etc.), from Latin imbuere "moisten, wet, soak, saturate," figuratively "to fill; to taint," a word of uncertain origin, perhaps from the same root as imbrication. Compare also Old French embu, past participle of emboivre, from Latin imbibere "drink in, soak in" (see imbibe), which might have influenced the English word. Related: Imbued; imbuing.
updated on October 12, 2015