adjective di·dac·tic \ dī-ˈdak-tik , də- \
|Updated on: 17 Jun 2018

Definition of didactic

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


play \-ti-kəl\ adjective


play \-ti-k(ə-)lē\ adverb


play \-tə-ˌsi-zəm\ noun

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Examples of didactic in a Sentence

  1. 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. LevineThe Unpredictable Past1993
  2. For two decades, many Americans, including some early advocates of the Vietnam intervention, have been relentlessly didactic, extracting cautionary lessons from Vietnam. —George F. WillNewsweek22 May 1989
  3. —the trappings, one might say—of a didactic and resolutely pious Victorian sensibility in the service of an anarchic imagination. —Joyce Carol OatesThe Profane Art1983
  4. the poet's works became increasingly didactic after his religious conversion

Recent Examples of didactic from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of 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 1-ic; 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"

DIDACTIC Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of didactic for English Language Learners

  • : designed or intended to teach people something

  • —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

Medical Dictionary


adjective di·dac·tic \ dī-ˈdak-tik, də- \

medical Definition of didactic

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

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to emit the high shrill tone of bagpipes

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