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[tawt] /tɔt/
simple past tense and past participle of teach.
Related forms
half-taught, adjective
well-taught, adjective
Can be confused
taught, taut, taunt.


[teech] /titʃ/
verb (used with object), taught, teaching.
to impart knowledge of or skill in; give instruction in:
She teaches mathematics.
Synonyms: coach.
to impart knowledge or skill to; give instruction to:
He teaches a large class.
verb (used without object), taught, teaching.
to impart knowledge or skill; give instruction.
Informal. teacher.
Origin of teach
before 900; Middle English techen, Old English tǣcan; akin to token
Related forms
overteach, verb, overtaught, overteaching.
preteach, verb, pretaught, preteaching.
reteach, verb, retaught, reteaching.
underteach, verb, undertaught, underteaching.
Can be confused
learn, teach.
Synonym Study
Teach, instruct, tutor, train, educate share the meaning of imparting information, understanding, or skill. Teach is the broadest and most general of these terms and can refer to almost any practice that causes others to develop skill or knowledge: to teach children to write; to teach marksmanship to soldiers; to teach tricks to a dog. Instruct almost always implies a systematic, structured method of teaching: to instruct paramedics in techniques of cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Tutor refers to the giving of usually private instruction or coaching in a particular subject or skill: to tutor a child in (a foreign language, algebra, history, or the like). Train lays stress on the development of desired behaviors through practice, discipline, or the use of rewards or punishments: to train a child to be polite; to train recruits in military skills; to train a dog to heel. Educate, with a root sense of “to lead forth from,” refers to the imparting of a specific body of knowledge, especially one that equips a person to practice a profession: to educate a person for a high-school diploma; to educate someone for the law. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for taught
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • To the end of his life he labored over the lessons then taught.

  • How else could he have learned it, if she had not taught him?

    Days Off Henry Van Dyke
  • She had been taught that love was always a weakness, and only too frequently a sin.

    Earl Hubert's Daughter Emily Sarah Holt
  • Mathematics is the only discipline which could be taught under that rule.

    Folkways William Graham Sumner
  • Could she renounce the joys which his love had taught her to experience?

    Wagner, the Wehr-Wolf George W. M. Reynolds
British Dictionary definitions for taught


the past tense and past participle of teach


verb teaches, teaching, taught
(transitive; may take a clause as object or an infinitive) often foll by how. to help to learn; tell or show (how): to teach someone to paint, to teach someone how to paint
to give instruction or lessons in (a subject) to (a person or animal): to teach French, to teach children, she teaches
(transitive; may take a clause as object or an infinitive) to cause to learn or understand: experience taught him that he could not be a journalist
(informal) Also teach someone a lesson. to cause (someone) to suffer the unpleasant consequences of some action or behaviour
Derived Forms
teachable, adjective
Word Origin
Old English tǣcan; related to tācentoken, Old Frisian tēken, Old Saxon tēkan, Old High German zeihhan, Old Norse teikn sign


Edward, known as Blackbeard. died 1718, English pirate, active in the West Indies and on the Atlantic coast of North America
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 taught

past tense of teach, from Old English tahte (see teach).



Old English tæcan (past tense and past participle tæhte) "to show, point out," also "to give instruction," from Proto-Germanic *taikijanan (cf. Old High German zihan, German zeihen "to accuse," Gothic ga-teihan "to announce"), from PIE *deik- "to show, point out" (see diction). Related to Old English tacen, tacn "sign, mark" (see token). Related: Taught; teaching.

Old English tæcan had more usually a sense of "show, declare, warn, persuade" (cf. German zeigen "to show," from the same root); while the Old English word for "to teach, instruct, guide" was more commonly læran, source of modern learn and lore.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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