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[in-struhk-shuh n] /ɪnˈstrʌk ʃən/
the act or practice of instructing or teaching; education.
knowledge or information imparted.
an item of such knowledge or information.
Usually, instructions. orders or directions:
The instructions are on the back of the box.
the act of furnishing with authoritative directions.
Computers. a command given to a computer to carry out a particular operation.
Origin of instruction
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English instruccio(u)n < Latin instructiōn- (stem of instructiō). See instruct, -ion
Related forms
instructional, adjective
misinstruction, noun
noninstructional, adjective
noninstructionally, adverb
overinstruction, noun
preinstruction, noun
reinstruction, noun
self-instruction, noun
1. tutoring, coaching; training, drill, exercise; indoctrination; schooling. 5. command, mandate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for instructions
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Beedle gave way to Ned after that second down, and Ned had his instructions.

    The Turner Twins Ralph Henry Barbour
  • Your own confessions, Eudora, do not speak well for her instructions.

    Philothea Lydia Maria Child
  • Then I will send for your maid and give her instructions what to do.

    The Weight of the Crown Fred M. White
  • You will need practice to reap the full benefit of my instructions.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • Grace's instructions, and trust my Connduct will met with Yr.

    The Black Moth Georgette Heyer
British Dictionary definitions for instructions


plural noun
directions, orders, or recommended rules for guidance, use, etc
(law) the facts and details relating to a case given by a client to his solicitor or by a solicitor to a barrister with directions to conduct the case: to take instructions


a direction; order
the process or act of imparting knowledge; teaching; education
(computing) a part of a program consisting of a coded command to the computer to perform a specified function
Derived Forms
instructional, adjective
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 instructions



c.1400, instruccioun, "action or process of teaching," from Old French instruccion (14c.), from Latin instructionem (nominative instructio) "building, arrangement, teaching," from past participle stem of instruere "arrange, inform, teach," from in- "on" (see in- (2)) + struere "to pile, build" (see structure (n.)). Meaning "an authoritative direction telling someone what to do; a document giving such directions," is early 15c. Related: Instructions.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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instructions in Science
A sequence of bits that tells a computer's central processing unit to perform a particular operation. An instruction can also contain data to be used in the operation.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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