verb \ˈtēch\

: to cause or help (someone) to learn about a subject by giving lessons

: to give lessons about (a particular subject) to a person or group

: to cause or help (a person or animal) to learn how to do something by giving lessons, showing how it is done, etc.

taught \ˈtt\ teach·ing

Full Definition of TEACH

transitive verb
a :  to cause to know something <taught them a trade>
b :  to cause to know how <is teaching me to drive>
c :  to accustom to some action or attitude <teach students to think for themselves>
d :  to cause to know the disagreeable consequences of some action <I'll teach you to come home late>
:  to guide the studies of
:  to impart the knowledge of <teach algebra>
a :  to instruct by precept, example, or experience
b :  to make known and accepted <experience teaches us our limitations>
:  to conduct instruction regularly in <teach school>
intransitive verb
:  to provide instruction :  act as a teacher

Usage Discussion of TEACH

Learn in the sense of teach dates from the 13th century and was standard until at least the early 19th <made them drunk with true Hollands—and then learned them the art of making bargains — Washington Irving>. But by Mark Twain's time it was receding to a speech form associated chiefly with the less educated <never done nothing for three months but set in his back yard and learn that frog to jump — Mark Twain>. The present-day status of learn has not risen. This use persists in speech, but in writing it appears mainly in the representation of such speech or its deliberate imitation for effect.

Origin of TEACH

Middle English techen to show, instruct, from Old English ̄can; akin to Old English tācn sign — more at token
First Known Use: before 12th century

Synonym Discussion of TEACH

teach, instruct, educate, train, discipline, school mean to cause to acquire knowledge or skill. teach applies to any manner of imparting information or skill so that others may learn <taught us a lot about our planet>. instruct suggests methodical or formal teaching <instructs raw recruits in military drill>. educate implies development of the mind <more things than formal schooling serve to educate a person>. train stresses instruction and drill with a specific end in view <trained foreign pilots to operate the new aircraft>. discipline implies training in habits of order and precision <a disciplined mind>. school implies training or disciplining especially in what is hard to master <schooled the horse in five gaits>.

Other Education Terms

baccalaureate, colloquium, corequisite, dissertation, monograph, pedant, practicum, survey course, thesis
TEACH Defined for Kids


verb \ˈtēch\
taught \ˈtt\teach·ing

Definition of TEACH for Kids

:  to help in learning how to do something :  show how <He taught me to swim.>
:  to guide the studies of <A substitute is teaching the class today.>
:  to give lessons in <She teaches math.>
:  to cause to know the unpleasant results of something <That will teach you to talk back.>

Synonym Discussion of TEACH

teach, instruct, and train mean to cause to gain knowledge or skill. teach can be used of any method of passing on information or skill so that others may learn. <She agreed to teach me how to play.> instruct is used when the teaching is done in a formal or orderly manner. <Teachers will instruct all students in the sciences.> train is used for instruction with a particular purpose in mind. <An engineer trained workers to operate the new machines.>


Next Word in the Dictionary: teachabilityPrevious Word in the Dictionary: tea ceremonyAll Words Near: teach
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears