didactic

adjective
di·​dac·​tic | \ dī-ˈdak-tik How to pronounce didactic (audio) , də-\

Definition of didactic

1a : designed or intended to teach
b : intended to convey instruction and information as well as pleasure and entertainment didactic poetry
2 : making moral observations

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Other Words from didactic

didactical \ dī-​ˈdak-​ti-​kəl How to pronounce didactical (audio) \ adjective
didactically \ dī-​ˈdak-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce didactically (audio) \ adverb
didacticism \ dī-​ˈdak-​tə-​ˌsi-​zəm How to pronounce didacticism (audio) \ noun

We Will Teach You the Origin of Didactic

Didaktikos is a Greek word that means "apt at teaching." It comes from didaskein, meaning "to teach." Something "didactic" does just that: teaches or instructs. "Didactic" conveyed that neutral meaning when it was first borrowed in the 17th century, and still does; a didactic piece of writing is one that is meant to be instructive as well as artistic. Parables are generally didactic because they aim to teach a moral lesson. "Didactic" now sometimes has negative connotations, too, however. Something "didactic" is often overburdened with instruction to the point of being dull. Or it might be pompously instructive or moralistic.

Examples of didactic in a Sentence

Slaves related human as well as animal trickster tales; they told Bible stories, explanatory tales, moralistic and didactic tales, supernatural tales and legends. — Lawrence W. Levine, The Unpredictable Past, 1993 For two decades, many Americans, including some early advocates of the Vietnam intervention, have been relentlessly didactic, extracting cautionary lessons from Vietnam. — George F. Will, Newsweek, 22 May 1989 —the trappings, one might say—of a didactic and resolutely pious Victorian sensibility in the service of an anarchic imagination. — Joyce Carol Oates, The Profane Art, 1983 the poet's works became increasingly didactic after his religious conversion
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Recent Examples on the Web

Who doesn't love a little didactic infanticide with their hot dog binge? Aj Willingham, CNN, "The best scarfing methods at the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest," 4 July 2019 Maybe because this mainstream studio production is so entertaining, as opposed to spectacular, controversial or didactic, and more easily dismissed as conventional. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, "Oscars 2019: Cast Your Ballot," 21 Feb. 2019 Recruits might have been bored by the didactic elements of the guerrilla movement but excitedby the potential for change. Rachel Nolan, Harper's magazine, "A Jagged Scrap of History," 24 June 2019 Even more useful are the didactic materials in the room itself. Cammy Brothers, WSJ, "Taking Shape Before Our Eyes," 14 June 2019 In reality, the 1998 elections were far more complicated than a didactic parable about the dangers to a political party in pursuing impeachment. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, "1998 Was a Seinfeld Election—Not an Impeachment Referendum," 6 June 2019 The Kirin chips also include didactic image signal processors that aid in things like low-light and portrait photography. Michael Simon, PCWorld, "Leaked ARM memo suggests Huawei's losing access to yet more essential technology," 22 May 2019 The leisurely crossword, hijacked here for more political, didactic purposes, is complemented by a series of sculptures focusing on the cult of wellness that has been booming in recent years, even in institutions like the American military. Roberta Smith, Martha Schwendener, Jason Farago And Will Heinrich, New York Times, "What to See in New York Art Galleries This Week," 7 Feb. 2018 In general, the message to young children was bland and didactic: All are welcome, everyone belongs. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, "Children’s Books: You’re Never Too Young to Take a Stand," 28 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'didactic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of didactic

1658, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for didactic

borrowed from New Latin didacticus, borrowed from Greek didaktikós "apt at teaching," from didaktós "taught, learned" (verbal adjective of didáskein, aorist edídaxa "to teach, instruct," factitive derivative of daênai "to learn") + -ikos -ic entry 1; daênai going back to Indo-European *dens-, *dn̥s- "become knowledgeable or skillful," whence also Avestan dīdaiŋ́hē "(I) learn, experience" and, in nominal derivatives, Sanskrit dáṃsaḥ "marvelous power," dasráḥ "accomplishing wonderful deeds," and perhaps Greek dḗnea "plans, intentions"

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Statistics for didactic

Last Updated

15 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for didactic

The first known use of didactic was in 1658

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More Definitions for didactic

didactic

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of didactic

formal
: designed or intended to teach people something
usually disapproving used to describe someone or something that tries to teach something (such as proper or moral behavior) in a way that is annoying or unwanted

didactic

adjective
di·​dac·​tic | \ dī-ˈdak-tik, də- How to pronounce didactic (audio) \

Medical Definition of didactic

: involving lecture and textbook instruction rather than demonstration and laboratory study

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characterized by aphorism

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