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


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

Synonyms: Verb

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The ultimate lesson of Elon Musk’s success with Tesla may be that wealthy, educated tech buyers reward bold talk — as long as your product lives up to it. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, "WTF, plus 3 other reasons the 2022 GMC Hummer EV pickup will be a hit," 21 Oct. 2020 The story is a warning to intellectuals; the lesson learned is that Martin would do well to listen—not only for the good of those who have something to say or of society at large but, especially, for his own benefit. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "“Martin Eden,” Reviewed: A Slick and Hollow Adaptation of Jack London’s Novel," 21 Oct. 2020 Another lesson out of the ballfield meltdown is the fine line that the city needs to walk on public-private partnerships. Sharon Grigsby, Dallas News, "As Dallas nears final vote to kill Reverchon ballpark plan, here’s how we avoid the next parks debacle," 20 Oct. 2020 The lesson is this: When all eyes are on you and the center is vulnerable, leaders should resist the urge to act boldly on principle. Sam Walker, WSJ, "How Chief Justice John Roberts Leads in Polarized Times," 16 Oct. 2020 The lesson in all these debacles is that anywhere ideology trumps science, public service, history, art, and entertainment, ruin surely follows. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "Destroying the Institutions We Inherited," 15 Oct. 2020 One lesson from the COVID-19 pandemic is the importance of a reliable American supply chain for personal protective equipment. Claire Goodman, Houston Chronicle, "Katy PPE distribution center to open next year," 15 Oct. 2020 The lesson for our future is clear: Demanding change and working for global justice and fairness are humanity’s best hope for survival. Phillip Morris, National Geographic, "2020 has tested our humanity. Where do we go from here?," 13 Oct. 2020 The lesson from previous elections, especially 2016, is that voters can be unpredictable. NBC News, "Republicans risk losing Texas, Florida & Arizona state races," 11 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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.

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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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Time Traveler for lesson

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for lesson

Last Updated

25 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Lesson.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lesson. Accessed 26 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for lesson


How to pronounce lesson (audio)

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

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