• IPA: /ˌɪnˈstɹʌkt/

instruct (instructs, present participle instructing; past and past participle instructed)

  1. (transitive) To teach by giving instructions.
    Synonyms: educate, guide
    Listen carefully when someone instructs you how to assemble the furniture.
    • circa 1604 William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure, Act I, Scene 3,
      Supply me with the habit and instruct me
      How I may formally in person bear me
      Like a true friar.
    • 1682, Aphra Behn, The False Count, London: Jacob Tonson, Act III, Scene 2, p. 33,
      What a dishonour’s this, to me, to have so Dull a Father, that needs to be instructed in his Duty.
    • 1751, Samuel Johnson, The Rambler, No. 156, 14 September, 1751, in Volume 5, London: J. Payne and J. Bouquet, 1752, p. 177,
      […] the design of tragedy is to instruct by moving the passions,
    • 1850, Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter, Chapter 10,
      […] I should deem you a man sore sick, it may be, yet not so sick but that an instructed and watchful physician might well hope to cure you.
    • 1974, Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, New York: William Morrow, Part 4, Chapter 29, p. 353,
      At the Laundromat I instruct Chris on how to operate the drier, start the washing machines […]
  2. (transitive) To tell (someone) what they must or should do.
    Synonyms: command, direct, order
    Usage note: "instruct" is less forceful than "order", but weightier than "advise"
    The doctor instructed me to keep my arm immobilised and begin physiotherapy.
    • circa 1591 William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part 1, Act III, Scene 1,
      What, shall a child instruct you what to do?
    • 1848, William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair (novel), Chapter 39,
      All the servants were instructed to address her as “Mum,” or “Madam” […]
    • 1989, John Irving, A Prayer for Owen Meany, New York: Ballantine, 1997, Chapter 5, p. 195,
      Observing that the Christ Child’s nose was running, she deftly wiped it; then she held the handkerchief in place, while instructing him to “blow.”
Translations Translations Noun

instruct (plural instructs)

  1. (obsolete) Instruction.

instruct (not comparable)

  1. (obsolete) Arranged; furnished; provided.
    • circa 1615 George Chapman (translator), Homer’s Odyssey, London: Nathaniell Butter, Book 4, p. 62,
      For he had neither ship, instruct with oares,
      Nor men to fetch him from those stranger shores.
  2. (obsolete) Instructed; taught; enlightened.
    • 1671, John Milton, Paradise Regained, London: John Starkey, Book 1, lines 438-441, p. 24,
      Who ever by consulting at thy shrine
      Return’d the wiser, or the more instruct
      To flye or follow what concern’d him most,
      And run not sooner to his fatal snare?

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