ped·​a·​gog·​i·​cal | \ ˌpe-də-ˈgä-ji-kəl How to pronounce pedagogical (audio) , -ˈgō- How to pronounce pedagogical (audio) \
variants: or less commonly pedagogic \ ˌpe-​də-​ˈgä-​jik How to pronounce pedagogic (audio) , -​ˈgō-​ \

Definition of pedagogical

: of, relating to, or befitting a teacher or education pedagogical methods pedagogical concerns

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Other Words from pedagogical

pedagogically \ ˌpe-​də-​ˈgä-​ji-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce pedagogically (audio) , -​ˈgō-​ \ adverb

Pedagogical, Pedagogy, and Pedagogue

Pedagogical and its cognates present us with an excellent example of how different words can come from the same root, retain an almost identical meaning, and yet take on distinctive connotations. Pedagogical, pedagogy, and pedagogue all come from the Greek paidagōgos, originally the word for a slave who brought children to school. But while pedagogical and pedagogy have meanings simply related to teaching or teachers (with no implied judgment), pedagogue has taken on a negative tone, often referring to a dull or overly formal teacher. A similar transformation has taken place with many of the pedant- words in English. A pedant originally denoted simply "a tutor," but now tends to mean "one who makes a show of knowledge." Pedantic formerly meant "relating to teaching," but now is more commonly used to mean "unimaginative or dull."

Did You Know?

Pedagogical, which has the somewhat less common spelling variant pedagogic, was coined in the early 17th century from a Greek adjective of the same meaning. That adjective, paidagōgikos, in turn derives from the noun paidagōgos, meaning "teacher." The English word pedagogue (which can simply mean "teacher" but usually suggests one who is particularly dull) derives from the same root. Though the words "educational" and "teacher" make the grade in most contexts, pedagogical and pedagogue are useful additions to the class.

Examples of pedagogical in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web For these collectives, documentaries were a pedagogical tool that could supplement the other strategies of movement politics by anchoring their ideas in personal experience. Phoebe Chen, The New York Review of Books, "The Films of Women’s Liberation," 27 June 2020 The bleak assessment has a pedagogical purpose: Mpanga’s podcast seeks to explain the logic of the streets without glamorization or endorsement. Rebecca Mead, The New Yorker, "George the Poet’s Undefinably Good Podcast," 8 Mar. 2020 Most taxidermy stories hold their animals at a remove, framing them as either pedagogical—fodder for exhibition—or perverse. Katy Waldman, The New Yorker, "Taxidermy Is a Metaphor for Our Time," 21 Aug. 2019 The pedagogical approach of Pericolosi, a graduate of Williams College, is one of experimentation. Tom Hindle, USA TODAY, "Cultivating baseball: Creating a new kind of major leaguer through college classes," 25 Jan. 2020 The pedagogical approach is that of a production line, with no accommodation for creativity or the unexpected. New York Times, "What Really Brought Down the Boeing 737 Max?," 18 Sep. 2019 The acronym, coined in the early 1990s, is pedagogical vapor. Virginia Heffernan, Wired, "How We Learned to Love the Pedagogical Vapor of STEM," 17 Dec. 2019 But Hall emphasizes that Star Wars’ pedagogical value also comes from those who don’t have any diagnosable illness at all. Michael Greshko, National Geographic, "The real science inspired by 'Star Wars'," 1 Dec. 2019 The New York Times’ 1619 Project is an ambitious pedagogical effort, meant to be distributed in schools, arguing that all of American history has been determined by the first unloading of black slaves in Jamestown 400 years ago. Nr Editors, National Review, "The Week," 5 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pedagogical.' 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 pedagogical

1595, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of pedagogical was in 1595

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Last Updated

3 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Pedagogical.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for pedagogical


How to pronounce pedagogical (audio) How to pronounce pedagogical (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of pedagogical

formal : of or relating to teachers or education

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