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[in-struhkt] /ɪnˈstrʌkt/
verb (used with object)
to furnish with knowledge, especially by a systematic method; teach; train; educate.
to furnish with orders or directions; direct; order; command:
The doctor instructed me to diet.
to furnish with information; inform; apprise.
Law. (of a judge) to guide (a jury) by outlining the legal principles involved in the case under consideration.
Origin of instruct
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English < Latin instructus past participle of instruere to equip, train, set in order, equivalent to in- in-2 + struc- (variant stem of struere to put together) + -tus past participle suffix
Related forms
instructedly, adverb
instructedness, noun
instructible, adjective
misinstruct, verb (used with object)
overinstruct, verb (used with object)
preinstruct, verb (used with object)
quasi-instructed, adjective
reinstruct, verb (used with object)
self-instructed, adjective
self-instructing, adjective
uninstructible, adjective
uninstructing, adjective
well-instructed, adjective
1. tutor, coach; drill, discipline; indoctrinate; school. 2. prescribe. 3. enlighten.
Synonym Study
1. See teach. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for instruct
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She is never noisy nor troublesome; so they like to have her with them, and they like to talk to her, and to instruct her.

    The Good Girl Anonymous
  • Alice frequently thought it necessary to instruct her mother.

    Alice Adams Booth Tarkington
  • He was fortunately stationed at the gun of which Jacob was captain, and the old sailor took pains to instruct him in handling it.

    The Two Shipmates William H. G. Kingston
  • He told his assistant to instruct Frank where to go and what to do.

    Frank Roscoe's Secret Allen Chapman
  • I found them far more difficult to instruct in bombing than the Northumberland miners.

    Q.6.a and Other places Francis Buckley
British Dictionary definitions for instruct


verb (transitive)
to direct to do something; order
to teach (someone) how to do (something)
to furnish with information; apprise
(law, mainly Brit)
  1. (esp of a client to his solicitor or a solicitor to a barrister) to give relevant facts or information to
  2. to authorize (a barrister or solicitor) to conduct a case on a person's behalf: to instruct counsel
Derived Forms
instructible, adjective
Word Origin
C15: from Latin instruere to construct, set in order, equip, teach, from struere to build
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for instruct

early 15c., from Latin instructus, past participle of instruere "arrange, inform, teach," literally "to build, erect," from in- "on" (see in- (2)) + struere "to pile, build" (see structure (n.)). Related: Instructed; instructing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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