teach a lesson

Idioms & Phrases

teach a lesson

Punish in order to prevent a recurrence of bad behavior. For example, Timmy set the wastebasket on fire; that should teach him a lesson about playing with matches. This term uses lesson in the sense of "a punishment or rebuke," a usage dating from the late 1500s. Also see learn one's lesson.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
Cite This Source
Explore Dictionary.com
Previous Definition: tea
Words Near: teach a lesson
More from Thesaurus.com
Synonyms and Antonyms for teach a lesson
More from Reference.com
Search for articles containing teach a lesson
More from Dictionary.com Translator
Dictionary.com Word FAQs

Dictionary.com presents 366 FAQs, incorporating some of the frequently asked questions from the past with newer queries.

Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature