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 instructional (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 The documents, which include guidelines for operating detention centers and instructions for how to use technology to target people, reveal that the camps in Xinjiang are not for voluntary job training, as Beijing has claimed. Time, "U.S. Criticizes China for Abuses Revealed by Leaked Cables," 28 Nov. 2019 The documents, which include guidelines for operating detention centers and instructions for how to use technology to target people, reveal that the camps in Xinjiang are not for voluntary job training, as Beijing has claimed. Matthew Lee, The Denver Post, "U.S. criticizes China for abuses revealed by leaked cables," 26 Nov. 2019 Robots traditionally follow specific instructions written by human coders. Wired, "Alphabet's Dream of an 'Everyday Robot' Is Just Out of Reach," 21 Nov. 2019 Puree the soup and the cream until smooth, using an immersion blender in the pot; or with a countertop blender, working in batches to avoid overfilling and following the manufacturer's instructions to prevent spattering of the hot liquid. Wolfgang Puck,, "Start Thanksgiving meal with savory squash soup," 21 Nov. 2019 The hassle-free holiday meal comes with easy-to-follow heating instructions and can be stored in your refrigerator, baked at home and prepared in two hours or less. Gege Reed, The Courier-Journal, "Not a cook? Here are 8 places to order a precooked Thanksgiving Day dinner in Louisville," 14 Nov. 2019 The victims of this crime of gross negligence followed the instructions they were given by the fire authorities. Rob Picheta, CNN, "British lawmaker suggests tower block fire victims lacked 'common sense' for following safety advice," 5 Nov. 2019 Users who don't want to wait can already opt in to DNS over HTTPS by following these instructions. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "ISPs lied to Congress to spread confusion about encrypted DNS, Mozilla says," 4 Nov. 2019 But Republican members of Congress have largely declined to follow Trump’s instructions. Susan B. Glasser, The New Yorker, "“He’s No Mr. Nice Guy”: Impeachment Comes for Trump," 31 Oct. 2019

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

8 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Instruction.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 14 December 2019.

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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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to assail by words or arguments

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