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 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 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 Still, Weingarten’s new proposal, if fully adopted by local unions, may not do away with all the barriers to full-time, in-person instruction., "President of key teachers union shares plea: ‘Schools must be open’ in fall," 13 May 2021 Students attend in person from 10 a.m to 2 or 3 p.m., Monday through Wednesday, and students who need additional help can attend in-person instruction for an extra two hours in the morning or the afternoon. Emma Talley, San Francisco Chronicle, "An East Bay teacher chose not to teach in person. Parents are asking why she's now heading to Mexico," 12 May 2021 While middle school students also have the benefit of daily supervision from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., both middle and high school students have a half-time on-campus academic schedule that includes no in-person instruction. Los Angeles Times, "Only 7% of LAUSD high school students return to reopened campuses, far less than expected," 10 May 2021 Many Catholic schools have resumed in-person instruction more quickly than nearby public schools. Ian Lovett, WSJ, "Catholic Schools Are Losing Students at Record Rates, and Hundreds Are Closing," 10 May 2021 His reiteration came a few days after the Maryland State Board of Education passed a resolution, which is not legally binding, that systems should provide full in-person instruction for the 2021-22 academic year. Jacob Calvin Meyer,, "Howard County schools working to ‘maximize’ number of students learning in person under current model," 4 May 2021 The amount of per-student funding would increase as the percentage of in-person instruction increases. Kristen Taketa, San Diego Union-Tribune, "CA Assembly committee advances school accountability bill that charter schools oppose," 29 Apr. 2021 The pivot point of the research was March 21, 2020: the day that in-person instruction ended in Chicago public schools and home-schooling began. Jeffrey Kluger, Time, "How the Closure of In-School Learning Damaged U.S. Children's Mental Health During the Pandemic," 29 Apr. 2021 As of April 20, K-12 schools in a little more than half of the 101 largest school districts in the country are offering full five-day-a-week in-person instruction for families that choose it, according to CNN's tracking. Cnn Staff, CNN, "Fact-checking GOP response to Biden's joint address," 29 Apr. 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

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

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Last Updated

16 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Instruction.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for instruction



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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