in·​struc·​tion | \ in-ˈstrək-shən How to pronounce instruction (audio) \

Definition of instruction

1a instructions plural : an outline or manual of technical procedure : directions
b : a direction calling for compliance : order usually used in pluralhad 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 How to pronounce instruction (audio) , -​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 Undergraduate instruction for Stanford’s winter quarter begins remotely on Monday. J.d. Morris,, "Over 40 Stanford students test positive in a week as university cancels plan for undergraduates to return to campus," 10 Jan. 2021 While Fulton on March 13 became the first school district in metro Atlanta to stop live instruction, Cherokee County was among the first to reopen classrooms following the initial March shutdowns. Ben Brasch, ajc, "Two metro Atlanta school districts pause live classes as others set to open," 9 Jan. 2021 The one bright spot during stay-at-home orders is that, for the first time, officials from the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology have pivoted to allow virtual instruction for students, balancing 25% in-school courses with 75% online. Los Angeles Times, "Entering a new year sparkling? Not so for beauty businesses in Little Saigon," 6 Jan. 2021 Itineraries can include one-on-one instruction in nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle practices. Stacey Leasca, Travel + Leisure, "This Hawaiian Wellness Retreat Is Offering 30-day Extended Stays for Those Who Need a Reset," 5 Jan. 2021 All instruction at a high school near Boston will be done remotely this week after some students attended a New Year's Eve party in violation of state coronavirus protocols, officials said Tuesday. NBC News, "Massachusetts high school halts in-person classes after teens attend New Year's Eve party," 5 Jan. 2021 And Lusher Charter School had asked families that traveled over the holidays to start students via virtual instruction, rather than return to the school's physical campus. Della Hasselle,, "Increased coronavirus cases forcing New Orleans public schools back to online-only model," 4 Jan. 2021 Latin instruction in seminaries has been neglected for generations. Nicholas Frankovich, National Review, "Tradition without Traditionalism: Reginald Foster Requiescat in Pace," 2 Jan. 2021 Later classes get into power pivot, power query and DAX in Excel, before moving on to instruction on Visual Basic for Applications (VBA). Popular Science, "Learn Excel from the basics to the complex with this bundle of classes," 2 Jan. 2021

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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Time Traveler for instruction

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for instruction

Last Updated

16 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Instruction.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for instruction


How to pronounce instruction (audio)

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 How to pronounce instruction (audio) \

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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