Quiz: Remember the definition of mal de mer?


[les-uh n] /ˈlɛs ən/
a section into which a course of study is divided, especially a single, continuous session of formal instruction in a subject:
The manual was broken down into 50 lessons.
a part of a book, an exercise, etc., that is assigned to a student for study:
The lesson for today is on page 22. He worked assiduously at his music lesson.
something to be learned or studied:
the lessons of the past.
a useful piece of practical wisdom acquired by experience or study:
That accident certainly taught him a lesson in careful driving.
something from which a person learns or should learn; an instructive example:
Her faith should serve as a lesson to all of us.
a reproof or punishment intended to teach one better ways.
a portion of Scripture or other sacred writing read or appointed to be read at a divine service; lection; pericope.
verb (used with object)
to teach; instruct; give a lesson to.
to admonish or reprove.
1175-1225; Middle English lesso(u)n < Old French leçon < Latin lēctiōn- (stem of lēctiō) lection
Can be confused
lessen, lesson. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for lessons
  • She started taking lessons when she was recovering from a painful divorce and learned a lot more than a few dance steps.
  • Over in the plant lab, hands-on exhibits take basic botany lessons out of the textbook realm.
  • After reading this, you may find yourself signing up for eel-catching lessons.
  • Teachers can use or adapt our lessons across subject areas and levels.
  • We grew up on cartoons, and the lessons found therein.
  • Dozens of papers discuss its technical lessons for future settlements.
  • If they understood the lessons, they're ready to go.
  • It is a great article and the humor makes it fun to read, yet the lessons in it are so true.
  • lessons take place in an online environment heavy on images.
  • Now, the administrators say, they will take lessons from the trip back to their respective colleges.
British Dictionary definitions for lessons


  1. a unit, or single period of instruction in a subject; class: an hour-long music lesson
  2. the content of such a unit
material assigned for individual study
something from which useful knowledge or principles can be learned; example
the principles, knowledge, etc, gained
a reprimand or punishment intended to correct
a portion of Scripture appointed to be read at divine service
(transitive) (rare) to censure or punish
Word Origin
C13: from Old French leçon, from Latin lēctiō, from legere to read
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for lessons



early 13c., "a reading aloud from the Bible," also "something to be learned by a student," from Old French leçon, from Latin lectionem (nominative lectio) "a reading," noun of action from past participle stem of legere "to read" (see lecture (n.)). Transferred sense of "an occurrence from which something can be learned" is from 1580s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with lessons
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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