in·struc·tion | \in-ˈstrək-shən \

Definition of instruction 

1a instructions plural : an outline or manual of technical procedure : directions

b : a direction calling for compliance : order usually used in plural had instructions not to admit strangers

c : a code that tells a computer to perform a particular operation

d : precept prevailing cultural instructions

2 : the action, practice, or profession of teaching

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Other Words from instruction

instructional \in-ˈstrək-shnəl, -shə-nᵊl \ adjective

Examples of instruction in a Sentence

You should read each instruction carefully. Their instruction was to deliver the package by five o'clock. The after-school program offers reading instruction to students who need it. The computer can handle one million instructions per second.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The performing arts summer camp includes instruction, classes and workshops in voice, dance, comedy improvisation, songwriting, performance techniques, sound and lighting. Linda Mcintosh,, "Daughters of American Revolution keep marching news," 12 July 2018 Throughout his two-day camp, Victor Oladipo and coaches will offer tips and hands-on instruction, including lectures, fundamental basketball skills stations, contests, and games in a high-energy, fun, and positive environment. Indianapolis Star, "Attend Victor Oladipo Youth Basketball ProCamp," 12 July 2018 Some follow instructions more closely than others, separating the wet ingredients from the dry. Anya Van Wagtendonk,, "For these immigrants, flipping pancakes and learning English go hand-in-hand," 12 July 2018 Taking that much money away could seriously endanger critical programs for refugees, which include social services, medical assistance, and English language instruction, on top of treatment programs for torture survivors, Slate reported. Elly Belle, Teen Vogue, "Trump Could Reportedly Detain More Immigrant Children at the Expense of HIV/AIDS Care," 11 July 2018 Google has shown it’s thinking along these lines with its Duplex tech, and Apple is pursuing greater complexity through its new Shortcuts app, which allows users to set up complex, multistep instructions using Siri. James Vincent, The Verge, "Apple’s new AI chief might actually be the right person to fix Siri," 11 July 2018 To support instruction, the school created common planning and professional development for teachers to collaborate in their disciplines to create rigorous lessons that could engage and support all learners in their classes. Valerie Strauss, Washington Post, "How one Maryland high school successfully boosted minority student enrollment in advanced classes," 10 July 2018 At manager Janne Andersson's instruction, the squad's buzzword in media interactions is 'collective'., "Warning Signs: How Sweden's Humble History Makers Survived and Thrived in the Post-Zlatan Era," 6 July 2018 They are made by feeding a computer an algorithm, or set of instructions, lots of images and audio of a certain person. Deb Riechmann, The Seattle Times, "I never said that! High-tech deception of ‘deepfake’ videos," 3 July 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

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Last Updated

13 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for instruction

The first known use of instruction was in the 15th century

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English Language Learners Definition of instruction

: a statement that describes how to do something

: an order or command

: the action or process of teaching : the act of instructing someone


in·struc·tion | \in-ˈstrək-shən \

Kids Definition of instruction

1 instructions plural : a specific rule or command I left instructions that I was not to be disturbed.

2 instructions plural : an outline of how something is to be done Follow the instructions on the box.

3 : the act or practice of teaching Students receive instruction in history.



Legal Definition of instruction 

: an explanation of an applicable principle of law given by a judge to a jury before the jury retires to consider its verdict

called also jury charge, jury instruction

Note: Under both the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, at the close of evidence, or before the close if the court reasonably so directs, any party may file written requests for the instructions to be given to the jury by the court. The court must advise the parties of its decision regarding the instructions prior to closing argument so that the parties may address the instructions during argument. Any objections to the instructions must be made before the jury retires for deliberation.

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Comments on instruction

What made you want to look up instruction? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to reject or criticize sharply

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