in·​doc·​tri·​nate | \ in-ˈdäk-trə-ˌnāt How to pronounce indoctrinate (audio) \
indoctrinated; indoctrinating

Definition of indoctrinate

transitive verb

1 : to imbue with a usually partisan or sectarian opinion, point of view, or principle
2 : to instruct especially in fundamentals or rudiments : teach

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Other Words from indoctrinate

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

Synonyms for indoctrinate


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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 Children in Taiwan were indoctrinated with KMT propaganda, which encouraged a quasi-imperial personality cult around Chiang and his family. Ian Buruma, Harper's Magazine, "Common Enemy," 23 Nov. 2019 When first years are indoctrinated in the mythology of the Trojan Family, Hughes won’t be mentioned. Harriet Ryan, Los Angeles Times, "This secret donor has given USC $400 million," 5 Sep. 2019 The difference is that Global Citizen, which regularly co-opts pop-music stars as figureheads for its events, means to interfere and indoctrinate. Armond White, National Review, "The Stones’ ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’ — Redefined," 22 Apr. 2020 These places have a lot of power over the people that became indoctrinated. Dave Itzkoff, New York Times, "Animals, Sex and Guns? Eric Goode Knew ‘Tiger King’ Had Potential," 1 Apr. 2020 Gunson said there is no hard evidence that Islamic terrorist cells are hosting training camps on Margarita Island or are indoctrinating indigenous groups. Abraham Mahshie, Washington Examiner, "Terror in South America: Iran and Hezbollah threaten the region, insiders say," 21 Feb. 2020 The ones who do arrive having been long-indoctrinated into a system of sometimes violent and humiliating hazing. Robert Klemko, Anchorage Daily News, "A former NHL goon used Twitter to create a hockey-abuse hotline. His inbox exploded.," 20 Feb. 2020 This was one of a growing number of internment camps in China's far western Xinjiang region, where by some estimates 1 million Muslims are politically indoctrinated while detained and forced to give up their language and their religion. Martha Mendoza,, "Trump blocks shipments from Chinese company that makes baby pajamas sold at Costco over forced labor allegations," 8 Oct. 2019 Why 2020 production could be better Both Thompson and Henry are more experienced this season and have spent two full offseasons being indoctrinated into offensive coordinator David Yost’s offense. Brice Paterik, Dallas News, "Texas Tech running back outlook for 2020: Will SaRodorick Thompson keep his role as the primary back?," 21 Feb. 2020

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 2

History and Etymology for indoctrinate

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

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Time Traveler for indoctrinate

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The first known use of indoctrinate was in 1626

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Last Updated

12 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Indoctrinate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

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How to pronounce indoctrinate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of indoctrinate

disapproving : 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 How to pronounce indoctrinate (audio) \
indoctrinated; indoctrinating

Kids Definition of indoctrinate

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

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Nglish: Translation of indoctrinate for Spanish Speakers

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