1 : to instruct especially in fundamentals or rudiments : teach
2 : to imbue with a usually partisan or sectarian opinion, point of view, or principle
Did You Know?
Indoctrinate simply means "brainwash" to many people. But its meaning isn't always so negative. When this verb first appeared in English in the 17th century, it simply meant "to teach"—a meaning that followed logically from its Latin root. The "doc" in the middle of indoctrinate derives from the Latin verb docēre, which also means "to teach." Other offspring of docēre include docent (referring to a college professor or a museum guide), docile, doctor, doctrine, and document. It was not until the 19th century that indoctrinate began to see regular use in the sense of causing someone to absorb and take on certain opinions or principles.
"Clearly, [in the television series 'The Handmaid's Tale'] the Sons of Jacob have been scarily successful in indoctrinating Americans—or, more specifically, young former Americans—to accept a new set of social mores." — Elena Nicolaou, Refinery29.com, 24 May 2018
"There were two academies in the frigate. One comprised the apprentice boys, who, upon certain days of the week, were indoctrinated in the mysteries of the primer by an invalid corporal of marines, a slender, wizzen-cheeked man, who had received a liberal infant-school education." — Herman Melville, White Jacket, 1850
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Test Your Vocabulary
Unscramble the letters to create a word that means "to teach and impress by frequent repetitions or admonitions": CCEITNLUA.VIEW THE ANSWER
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP