les·​son | \ˈle-sᵊn \

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 , ˈles-​niŋ \

Definition of lesson (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to give a lesson to : instruct

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Synonyms for lesson

Synonyms: Noun

assignment, reading

Synonyms: Verb

educate, indoctrinate, instruct, school, teach, train, tutor

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Examples of lesson in a Sentence


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!


would tirelessly lesson the children in proper manners
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Paul IrvineDehoucheHe’s planned exclusive workshops with a local fashion designer, cooking classes with chef Felipe Bronze of Oro, art tours, jaguar tracking, and samba dancing lessons. Paul Brady, Condé Nast Traveler, "2018 Top Travel Specialists We Trust," 19 Oct. 2018 There are 30 new activities and lesson plans in the Google Earth app for use with the Cardboard and Daydream headsets. Makena Kelly, The Verge, "Google is adding ARCore support to the Chromebook Tab 10 with Classroom updates," 7 Aug. 2018 Arreola put the civic lessons his father taught him to good use. Lainey Berkus, San Antonio Express-News, "In the Bag: Al Arreola," 2 July 2018 Branch also is offering youngsters free lunches, arts and crafts classes, a reading program for older children, ballet dance lessons, and sessions to teach kids and adults how to use and program computers. Frank Witsil, Detroit Free Press, "She was homeless until a Detroit library stepped in to help," 29 June 2018 Normally, their Sundays are reserved for Tamburitza and Kolo lessons open to anyone over 8 years old. Dave Hyde, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Hyde: Will the World Cup and morning TV end with a Croatian surprise? | Commentary," 14 July 2018 Teen Miss contestant MacKenzie Nolan, who wants to become a veterinarian, answered that the most important lesson her parents taught her was how to be a good person in general. Julie Gallant, Ramona Sentinel, "Megan Kelly crowned 2018 Miss Ramona," 10 July 2018 But her response to the lesson is what is confusing some people. Alexandra Deabler, Fox News, "Subway worker ‘shattered’ vegan customer’s ‘world’ by explaining mayonnaise has eggs in it," 10 July 2018 There are two types of sunscreen: chemical and mechanical First, a lesson in what sunscreen actually is; there are two types: chemical and mechanical. Nicole Spector /, NBC News, "How to prevent and treat a sunburn," 9 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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.

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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

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Learn More about lesson

Statistics for lesson

Last Updated

19 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for lesson

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

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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 \

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

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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).


noxious or harmful

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