in·​doc·​tri·​nate | \in-ˈdäk-trə-ˌnāt \
indoctrinated; indoctrinating

Definition of indoctrinate 

transitive verb

1 : to instruct especially in fundamentals or rudiments : teach

2 : to imbue with a usually partisan or sectarian opinion, point of view, or principle

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Other Words from indoctrinate

indoctrination \(ˌ)in-​ˌdäk-​trə-​ˈnā-​shən \ noun
indoctrinator \in-​ˈdäk-​trə-​ˌnā-​tər \ noun

Synonyms for indoctrinate


educate, instruct, lesson, school, teach, train, tutor

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Did You Know?

Indoctrinate simply means "brainwash" to many people. But its meaning isn't always so negative. When this verb first appeared in English in the 17th century, it simply meant "to teach"-a meaning that followed logically from its Latin root. The "doc" in the middle of indoctrinate derives from the Latin verb docēre, which also means "to teach." Other offspring of "docēre" include "docent" (referring to a college professor or a museum guide), "docile," "doctor," "doctrine," and "document." It was not until the 19th century that "indoctrinate" began to see regular use in the sense of causing someone to absorb and take on certain opinions or principles.

Examples of indoctrinate in a Sentence

The goal should be to teach politics, rather than to indoctrinate students in a narrow set of political beliefs. indoctrinated children in proper safety procedures

Recent Examples on the Web

Men are indoctrinated to associate power with predation, and women with seduction and submission. Cheryl Strayed And Steve Almond, New York Times, "How Do I Deal with My Anger Toward Men?," 13 Mar. 2018 George Hill, Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr. and Rodney Hood — the four players the team acquired in February trades — who will be more indoctrinated into the system. Keith Pompey,, "LeBron James approaches free agency, could he land with the Sixers?," 8 June 2018 While many of the Chibok girls escaped or were later freed through government negotiations, about 100 of the girls were said to be indoctrinated by their captors and had children with them. Washington Post, "Parents fear worst for missing girls after Nigeria attack," 23 Feb. 2018 Her removal had been ordered under an Australian assimilation policy that sought to absorb Aboriginal people into the country’s white society by taking children from their families and indoctrinating them in the ways of that dominant culture. Jacqueline Williams,, "Daisy Kadibil, whose Australia trek inspired a film, dies at 95," 29 June 2018 But locals are concerned that many are still ISIS-indoctrinated, requiring more than just a limited jail term. Hollie Mckay, Fox News, "Syrian opposition, out of jail space, fears threat of released ISIS prisoners," 29 May 2018 Clearly, the Sons of Jacob have been scarily successful in indoctrinating Americans — or, more specifically, young former Americans — to accept a new set of social mores., "The Handmaid's Tale," 24 May 2018 This past weekend, commencement speech at Yale University the poor kids have already been indoctrinated. Fox News, "Strassel, Chaffetz on claims of Trump campaign surveillance," 22 May 2018 Autocrats who plan to stay in power for ever need to indoctrinate children. The Economist, "After decades of triumph, democracy is losing ground," 14 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'indoctrinate.' 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 indoctrinate

1626, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for indoctrinate

probably from Middle English endoctrinen, from Anglo-French endoctriner, from en- + doctrine doctrine

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Last Updated

9 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for indoctrinate

The first known use of indoctrinate was in 1626

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More Definitions for indoctrinate



English Language Learners Definition of indoctrinate

: to teach (someone) to fully accept the ideas, opinions, and beliefs of a particular group and to not consider other ideas, opinions, and beliefs


in·​doc·​tri·​nate | \in-ˈdäk-trə-ˌnāt \
indoctrinated; indoctrinating

Kids Definition of indoctrinate

: to teach especially the ideas, opinions, or beliefs of a certain group

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More from Merriam-Webster on indoctrinate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with indoctrinate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for indoctrinate

Spanish Central: Translation of indoctrinate

Nglish: Translation of indoctrinate for Spanish Speakers

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a nest or breeding place

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