noun in·struc·tion \ in-ˈstrək-shən \
|Updated on: 4 Aug 2018

Definition of instruction

1 a : precept
  • prevailing cultural instructions
b : a direction calling for compliance : order usually used in plural
  • had instructions not to admit strangers
c instructions plural : an outline or manual of technical procedure : directions
d : a code that tells a computer to perform a particular operation
2 : the action, practice, or profession of teaching


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

Examples of instruction in a Sentence

  1. You should read each instruction carefully.

  2. Their instruction was to deliver the package by five o'clock.

  3. The after-school program offers reading instruction to students who need it.

  4. The computer can handle one million instructions per second.

Recent Examples of instruction from the Web

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.

First Known Use of instruction

15th century

in the meaning defined at sense 1b

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INSTRUCTION Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of instruction for English Language Learners

  • : a statement that describes how to do something

  • : an order or command

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

INSTRUCTION Defined for Kids


noun in·struc·tion \ in-ˈstrək-shən \

Definition of instruction for Students

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.

Law Dictionary


noun in·struc·tion

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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