verb \ ˈtēch \
|Updated on: 7 Jul 2018

Definition of teach

taught play \ˈtȯt\; teaching
1 a : to cause to know something
  • taught them a trade
b : to cause to know how
  • is teaching me to drive
c : to accustom to some action or attitude
  • teach students to think for themselves
d : to cause to know the disagreeable consequences of some action
  • I'll teach you to come home late
2 : to guide the studies of
3 : to impart the knowledge of
  • teach algebra
4 a : to instruct by precept, example, or experience
b : to make known and accepted
  • experience teaches us our limitations
5 : to conduct instruction regularly in
  • teach school
: to provide instruction : act as a teacher

Examples of teach in a Sentence

  1. He enjoys teaching his students about history.

  2. She taught English for many years at the high school.

  3. The church teaches compassion and forgiveness.

  4. Someone needs to teach her right and wrong.

  5. The experience taught us that money doesn't mean everything.

  6. Her injury will teach her not to be so careless with a knife.

Recent Examples of teach from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of teach

Middle English techen to show, instruct, from Old English tǣcan; akin to Old English tācn sign — more at 1token

Synonym Discussion of teach

teach, instruct, educate, train, discipline, school mean to cause to acquire knowledge or skill. teach applies to any manner of imparting information or skill so that others may learn.
    • taught us a lot about our planet
instruct suggests methodical or formal teaching.
    • instructs raw recruits in military drill
educate implies development of the mind.
    • more things than formal schooling serve to educate a person
train stresses instruction and drill with a specific end in view.
    • trained foreign pilots to operate the new aircraft
discipline implies training in habits of order and precision.
    • a disciplined mind
school implies training or disciplining especially in what is hard to master.
    • schooled the horse in five gaits

TEACH Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of teach for English Language Learners

  • : to cause or help (someone) to learn about a subject by giving lessons

  • : to give lessons about (a particular subject) to a person or group

  • : to cause or help (a person or animal) to learn how to do something by giving lessons, showing how it is done, etc.

TEACH Defined for Kids


verb \ ˈtēch \

Definition of teach for Students

taught \ˈtȯt\; teaching
1 : to help in learning how to do something : show how
  • He taught me to swim.
2 : to guide the studies of
  • A substitute is teaching the class today.
3 : to give lessons in
  • She teaches math.
4 : to cause to know the unpleasant results of something
  • That will teach you to talk back.

Synonym Discussion of teach

teach, instruct, and train mean to cause to gain knowledge or skill. teach can be used of any method of passing on information or skill so that others may learn.
    • She agreed to teach me how to play.
instruct is used when the teaching is done in a formal or orderly manner.
    • Teachers will instruct all students in the sciences.
train is used for instruction with a particular purpose in mind.
    • An engineer trained workers to operate the new machines.

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