indoctrinate

verb

in·​doc·​tri·​nate in-ˈdäk-trə-ˌnāt How to pronounce indoctrinate (audio)
indoctrinated; indoctrinating

transitive verb

1
: to imbue with a usually partisan or sectarian opinion, point of view, or principle
2
: to instruct especially in fundamentals or rudiments : teach
indoctrination noun
indoctrinator noun

Did you know?

Indoctrinate means "brainwash" to many people, but its meaning isn't always so negative. When the verb first appeared in English in the 17th century, it simply meant "to teach"—a meaning linked closely to its source, the Latin verb docēre, which also means "to teach." (Other offspring of docēre include docile, doctor, document, and, of course, doctrine). By the 19th century, indoctrinate was being used in the sense of teaching someone to fully accept only the ideas, opinions, and beliefs of a particular group.

Example Sentences

The goal should be to teach politics, rather than to indoctrinate students in a narrow set of political beliefs. indoctrinated children in proper safety procedures
Recent Examples on the Web Parents are allowed to indoctrinate their children in all sorts of crazy ideas, and even put them through surgery. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 5 Nov. 2012 In other words, the State of Florida says that to avoid indoctrination, the State of Florida can impose its own orthodoxy and can indoctrinate university students to its preferred viewpoint. The Enquirer, 23 Nov. 2022 The cities of Donetsk and Luhansk, as well as the Crimean Peninsula, have been controlled by Russia for eight years, giving its military ample time to prepare extensive defenses and indoctrinate the local population. Thomas Mutch, Popular Mechanics, 22 Nov. 2022 And the next step is to seize the narrative from the Republicans who have grasped it, overwhelmingly to their benefit, to argue that liberals are eager to alternately indoctrinate your children or shut their schools down. WSJ, 11 Sep. 2022 Now 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan has a full week to indoctrinate McCaffrey into an offense that also includes dangerous receiver/running back Deebo Samuel and tight end George Kittle. Los Angeles Times, 24 Oct. 2022 Critics decried the song as an attempt to indoctrinate children and instill in them loyalty for the Islamic Republic. Nadeen Ebrahim, CNN, 17 Oct. 2022 And the next step is to seize the narrative from the Republicans who have grasped it, overwhelmingly to their benefit, to argue that liberals are eager to alternately indoctrinate your children or shut their schools down. WSJ, 11 Sep. 2022 Bethany Couto, secretary of the Wareham Gatemen, is already trying to indoctrinate her future son (due in October) into baseball. BostonGlobe.com, 15 Aug. 2022 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

probably from Middle English endoctrinen, from Anglo-French endoctriner, from en- + doctrine doctrine

First Known Use

1626, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of indoctrinate was in 1626

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Dictionary Entries Near indoctrinate

Cite this Entry

“Indoctrinate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/indoctrinate. Accessed 6 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

indoctrinate

verb
in·​doc·​tri·​nate in-ˈdäk-trə-ˌnāt How to pronounce indoctrinate (audio)
indoctrinated; indoctrinating
1
2
: to teach the ideas, opinions, or beliefs of a particular group
indoctrination noun
indoctrinator noun

More from Merriam-Webster on indoctrinate

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