- to furnish with knowledge, especially by a systematic method; teach; train; educate.
- to furnish with orders or directions; direct; order; command: The doctor instructed me to diet.
- to furnish with information; inform; apprise.
- Law. (of a judge) to guide (a jury) by outlining the legal principles involved in the case under consideration.
Origin of instruct
1375–1425; late Middle English < Latin instructus past participle of instruere to equip, train, set in order, equivalent to in- in-2 + struc- (variant stem of struere to put together) + -tus past participle suffix
1. See teach.
SynonymsSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for instruct
I had my 14-year-old daughter, Poppet, instruct me in how to watch an episode of Girls on my computer.Up to a Point: They Made Me Write About Lena Dunham
P. J. O’Rourke
December 13, 2014
“The Commission did not instruct Mr. Wright to approve inaccurate wellbore completion reports,” according to the letter.Two Texas Regulators Tried to Enforce the Rules. They Were Fired.
David Hasemyer, InsideClimate News
December 9, 2014
Sanford informs that he plans to get a lawyer, whom he will “instruct… not to fight back.”Mark Sanford’s Epic Facebook Overshare
September 12, 2014
In El Reno, when you order a hamburger, an onion-fried burger is assumed, unless you instruct the cook to leave the onions out.The Most American Pit Stop in the U.S.A.
Jane & Michael Stern
July 21, 2014
Of course, every society needs a clerical class, to instruct the young and maintain cultural standards.Watch What You Say, The New Liberal Power Elite Won’t Tolerate Dissent
June 7, 2014
He was now to be sent into the forecastle, and was ordered to instruct me in my duty.Ned Myers
James Fenimore Cooper
Pray for him; instruct him; pour light into the darkness of his mind.The Works of Whittier, Volume VII (of VII)
John Greenleaf Whittier
I will instruct thee, and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go.'
Alice frequently thought it necessary to instruct her mother.Alice Adams
He told his assistant to instruct Frank where to go and what to do.Frank Roscoe's Secret
- to direct to do something; order
- to teach (someone) how to do (something)
- to furnish with information; apprise
- law, mainly British
- (esp of a client to his solicitor or a solicitor to a barrister) to give relevant facts or information to
- to authorize (a barrister or solicitor) to conduct a case on a person's behalfto instruct counsel
C15: from Latin instruere to construct, set in order, equip, teach, from struere to build
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
Word Origin and History for instruct
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper