v. taught (tôt), teach·ing, teach·es
1. To impart knowledge or skill to: teaches children.
2. To provide knowledge of; instruct in: teaches French.
3. To condition to a certain action or frame of mind: teaching youngsters to be self-reliant.
4. To cause to learn by example or experience: an accident that taught me a valuable lesson.
5. To advocate or preach: teaches racial and religious tolerance.
6. To carry on instruction on a regular basis in: taught high school for many years.
To give instruction, especially as an occupation.
[Middle English techen, from Old English tǣcan; see deik- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
Synonyms: teach, instruct, educate, train, school1, discipline, drill1
These verbs mean to impart knowledge or skill. Teach is the most widely applicable: taught the child to draw; taught literature at the college. Instruct often suggests training in some special field or skill: instructed the undergraduates in music theory. Educate often implies formal instruction but especially stresses the development of innate capacities: "We are educated by others ... and this cultivation, mingling with our innate disposition, is the soil in which our desires, passions, and motives grow" (Mary Shelley).
Train suggests concentration on particular skills intended to fit a person for a desired role: trained the vocational students to be computer technicians. School often implies an arduous training process: "He took young Deanie under his wing and schooled him in the art of ambidextrous gunplay" (T.J. English).
Discipline usually refers to the teaching of control, especially self-control: disciplined myself to exercise every day. Drill implies rigorous instruction or training, usually by repetition: drilled the students by having them recite the multiplication tables.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.