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.

Examples of indoctrinate in a Sentence

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 The issue has become politicized, with some states looking to streamline access as conservative politicians elsewhere propose further restrictions, accusing schools of trying to indoctrinate students and cut out parents. Michael Elsen-Rooney, Fortune, 11 Feb. 2024 Already indoctrinated into the crime world, William quickly finds a place in Fisk’s crime crew. Aramide Tinubu, Variety, 10 Jan. 2024 Apparently, the older German soldiers guarding the train were not indoctrinated with Hitler’s methodologies. Linda Chase, Sun Sentinel, 9 Jan. 2024 The board was under fire for its racial equity work the same year, drawing complaints from some parents who said the district was indoctrinating students with critical race theory. Karina Elwood, Washington Post, 8 Nov. 2023 The men were forcefully indoctrinated with Kim’s teachings and constantly watched by a never-ending rotation of overseers. Francine Uenuma, Smithsonian Magazine, 4 Jan. 2024 An ever more isolated, indoctrinated, and politicized Chinese populace could become that much more hostile to the West and more supportive of nationalist causes, such as a military assault to claim Taiwan. Michael Schuman, The Atlantic, 20 Dec. 2023 Such policies do not fit neatly under parent rights — except perhaps in relation to parents who believe that left-wing teachers are indoctrinating their children. Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times, 30 Nov. 2023 College Board has denied that the course indoctrinates students. Josh Snyder, arkansasonline.com, 6 Dec. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'indoctrinate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 4 Mar. 2024.

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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