indoctrinate

verb

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

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
indoctrination noun
indoctrinator noun

Did you know?

Indoctrinate means "brainwash" to many people, but its meaning isn't always so negative. When the verb first appeared in English in the 17th century, it simply meant "to teach"—a meaning linked closely to its source, the Latin verb docēre, which also means "to teach." (Other offspring of docēre include docile, doctor, document, and, of course, doctrine). By the 19th century, indoctrinate was being used in the sense of teaching someone to fully accept only the ideas, opinions, and beliefs of a particular group.

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 These echo chambers perpetuate a constant stream of radical perspectives that indoctrinate susceptible young children to see the world through a filter of hostility and division. Armstrong Williams, Baltimore Sun, 3 July 2024 But Lee was also a 5-4 decision, and Justice Antonin Scalia’s dissent rejected Kennedy’s suggestion that public schools have a special responsibility to avoid indoctrinating their students. Ian Millhiser, Vox, 25 June 2024 He was indoctrinated into the cult of the Kim family, as all North Koreans are. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, 17 June 2024 Indeed, its entire military apparatus—infantry, special operators, and rocket, missile, and drone forces—is trained, oriented, and indoctrinated for this exact scenario. Brian Katz, Foreign Affairs, 10 Oct. 2023 See all Example Sentences for indoctrinate 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'indoctrinate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

1626, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of indoctrinate was in 1626

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Dictionary Entries Near indoctrinate

Cite this Entry

“Indoctrinate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/indoctrinate. Accessed 23 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

indoctrinate

verb
in·​doc·​tri·​nate in-ˈdäk-trə-ˌnāt How to pronounce indoctrinate (audio)
indoctrinated; indoctrinating
1
2
: to teach the ideas, opinions, or beliefs of a particular group
indoctrination noun
indoctrinator noun

More from Merriam-Webster on indoctrinate

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