Something that is unimportant lacks significance or value. Unimportant details in a movie, for instance, add little to the story. Something that is negligible is so small, trifling, or unimportant that it may safely be neglected or disregarded. Negligible carries no positive or negative force on its own; when it describes something undesirable, like damage, negligible can come as a relief: The couple was relieved to learn that water damage to their home was negligible. But when it is describing something more desirable, like financial growth, negligible can connote disappointment: Much to the chagrin of investors, the company’s growth in the last year was negligible.
When plants sprout, they begin to grow, or they put forth buds or shoots. Another way to talk about this early stage of growth is with the verb burgeon, which is defined as “to begin to grow, as a bud” or “to put forth buds, shoots, etc.” These meanings are very close, but like two tendrils striving for their own spot in the sun, sprout and burgeon have, over time, established their own semantic territories, with sprout being the preferred term for all things plant-based, and burgeon taking on a life of its own as the go-to verb for talking about people, places, and things that are growing or developing quickly, or that are flourishing—a sense that is more synonymous with the verbs thrive, flourish, and blossom.
To instill something is to infuse it slowly or gradually into the mind or feelings of another. This verb is usually used of desirable qualities such as a sense of humility or self-confidence. To inculcate something, such as a particular value or principle, is to implant it by repeated statement or admonition, or, to teach it persistently and earnestly. Both of these verbs deal with imparting information or ideas to an individual or group of people, but instill takes a slow, gradual, drip-by-drip approach. Inculcate, on the other hand, goes the more direct and forceful route. You see, inculcate comes from the Latin verb inculcāre meaning “to trample, impress, stuff in,” which sheds light on the occasional (though now obsolete) use of this imposing verb to mean “to tread upon” or “to trample.”