Definition of didactic
- didactic poetry
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
the poet's works became increasingly didactic after his religious conversion
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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.
First Known Use: 1658See Words from the same year
: 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
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