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

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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

But the experience of the West in Afghanistan since 2001 holds another lesson: military intervention alone cannot solve the problem. The Economist, "The fight against Islamic State is moving to Africa," 14 July 2018 Is this an Italian lesson, or part of an English class? Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "Gus Van Sant’s Semi-Surreal “Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot”," 13 July 2018 Polkow started taking piano lessons at age 7 and since has been a music and choir director and has some film credits. Sheryl Devore, Lake County News-Sun, "Zion concert is part of New Odyssey's final year of concerts," 12 July 2018 Emmoni Lopez took dance lessons while her older brothers wrestled. Sarah Freishtat, Aurora Beacon-News, "'Ten years ago, you'd never dream of doing this': Girls wrestling gaining popularity," 11 July 2018 Relationships, bad decisions, baggage, lessons, and emotions were all on the table and fair game for discussion. Jenna Birch, Health.com, "You've Already Broken Up Once—Here’s How to Know if the Relationship Can Really Work," 10 July 2018 Young players and coaching staffs will take lessons learned and work on weaknesses. Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press, "Jaren Jackson Jr.'s weary Sunday caps fabulous NBA Summer League week," 9 July 2018 Performers take lessons at a School of Rock location and then are put into bands and given the opportunity to perform at real rock venues like Summerfest. Taylor Palmby, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "School of Rock students show power of teamwork and electric guitars at Summerfest," 7 July 2018 One group took three 45-minute piano lessons each week, one group got the same amount of additional reading instruction, and the final group did neither. Jamie Ducharme, Time, "Why You Should Enroll Your Kids in Piano Lessons, According to Science," 1 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

Phrases Related to lesson

draw lessons from

teach (someone) a lesson

Statistics for lesson

Last Updated

10 Sep 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).


to make amends

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