les·​son | \ ˈle-sᵊn How to pronounce lesson (audio) \

Definition of lesson

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a passage from sacred writings read in a service of worship
2a : a piece of instruction
b : a reading or exercise to be studied by a pupil
c : a division of a course of instruction
3a : something learned by study or experience his years of travel had taught him valuable lessons
b : an instructive example the lessons of history
c : reprimand


lessoned; lessoning\ ˈle-​sə-​niŋ How to pronounce lesson (audio) , ˈles-​niŋ \

Definition of lesson (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to give a lesson to : instruct

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for lesson

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of lesson in a Sentence

Noun You can't go out to play until you've finished your lessons. The book is divided into 12 lessons. She took piano lessons for years. political leaders who have failed to learn the lessons of history I've learned my lesson—I'll never do that again! Let that be a lesson to you—if you don't take better care of your toys they'll get broken! Verb would tirelessly lesson the children in proper manners
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Cawthorne was already upset over the way a group of white teachers had handled a virtual lesson on George Floyd. BostonGlobe.com, "The exhaustion of being a Black teacher in a school when you’re one of too few educators of color," 1 Apr. 2021 Now, the show's two newest characters, 5-year-old Wes and his father Elijah, will offer a lesson on race, Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit behind the iconic children's show, announced this week. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, ""Sesame Street" introduces two new Black Muppets to teach about race," 25 Mar. 2021 These parent protesters are offering a central lesson on contemporary racial injustice—one rooted in lessons of Black history, which is to say in American history. Chris Gottlieb, Time, "Black Families Are Outraged About Family Separation Within the U.S. It's Time to Listen to Them," 17 Mar. 2021 Tune in for the 90-minute St. Patrick's Day at Home broadcast on March 17, complete with Celtic drummers in Dublin, Shamrock Tenors from Belfast, and a lesson on how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness. Alison Fox, Travel + Leisure, "Celebrate St. Patrick's Day With Liam Neeson As He Inspires Travel From Ireland to Brazil," 17 Mar. 2021 Some of the $1,400 allocated to each dependent could be given to them as a lesson on spending — and saving a portion of — the sum. Nerd Wallet, oregonlive, "Stimulus check spending: Here’s what you should do first, second, third with the extra money," 16 Mar. 2021 The meal begins with blindfolded diners getting an orientation lesson on where their silverware, napkin and wine glass are to avoid mishaps. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Blackout dining restaurant to launch in San Diego in May," 10 Mar. 2021 On a Friday afternoon in September, Louis was in the middle of a geometry lesson on how the dimensions of shapes can transform when a student apologized for showing up late. NBC news, "‘Are you listening?’ First-year teachers struggle to reach students they can’t see," 9 Mar. 2021 To get the full 25-minute lesson on tempura along with all of Nakayama’s lessons, her MasterClass is now available to buy. Jeremy Repanich, Robb Report, "Watch This Michelin Two-Star Kaiseki Chef Show You How to Fry Vegetable Tempura at Home," 8 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Oregon tried to lesson the load on Verdell the past few springs, with last year’s practices cut short before full contact any way. oregonlive, "CJ Verdell, Travis Dye give Oregon Ducks one of the best running back duos in the Pac-12," 30 Mar. 2021 Regents were deciding whether to drop four men’s sports -- indoor and outdoor track, gymnastics and tennis -- as part of the athletic department’s attempt to lesson the financial blow caused by the coronavirus pandemic. oregonlive, "From a track perspective, Minnesota’s decision makes no sense. But that’s not the real problem: Oregon track & field rundown," 10 Oct. 2020 The Pac-12′s daily, rapid-response testing will lesson the risk of those kind of outbreaks within a team. oregonlive, "The Pac-12 is moving slowly to start a fall sports season, and that is a good thing: Issues & Answers," 19 Sep. 2020 In theory, the Pac-12′s greater resources and capability for frequent and rapid testing should lesson the risk. oregonlive, "Oregon Ducks opting out of Pac-12′s delayed football season are making the right choice: Issues & Answers," 10 Sep. 2020 The fluted barrel, besides adding a distinctive look to the gun, helps lesson the overall weight to just under 8 pounds. Savage Arms, Field & Stream, "Savage’s Revolutionary Renegauge," 30 July 2020 To lesson their harmful impact on the environment, 35 Starbucks stores began charging customers who use the paper cups on Monday, February 26. Suzannah Weiss, Teen Vogue, "Starbucks Stores in London Test Paper Cup Fee," 27 Feb. 2018 LESSON 3: EMBRACE RIVALRY If competition brings out the best in us, what does rivalry—a sort of turbo-competition—do? Jon Wertheim, SI.com, "Roger Federer LLC: How the G.O.A.T. Got to the Top of His Game, in Businesslike Fashion," 25 Aug. 2017 Lesson five: Find a way to focus on your strengths. Allen Buchanan, Orange County Register, "Six commercial real estate lessons learned in 2016," 7 Jan. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lesson.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of lesson


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1555, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for lesson


Middle English, from Anglo-French leçon, from Late Latin lection-, lectio, from Latin, act of reading, from legere to read — more at legend

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about lesson

Time Traveler for lesson

Time Traveler

The first known use of lesson was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for lesson

Last Updated

5 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Lesson.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lesson. Accessed 13 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for lesson



English Language Learners Definition of lesson

: an activity that you do in order to learn something also : something that is taught
: a single class or part of a course of instruction
: something learned through experience


les·​son | \ ˈle-sᵊn How to pronounce lesson (audio) \

Kids Definition of lesson

1 : something learned or taught Travels to other countries taught him valuable lessons.
2 : a single class or part of a course of instruction music lessons

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on lesson

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


Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!