Definition of instruct in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɪnˈstrʌkt/


1 [reporting verb] Tell or order someone to do something, especially in a formal or official way: [with object and infinitive]: she instructed him to wait [with direct speech]: ‘Look at me,’ he instructed [with clause]: I instructed that she should be given hot, sweet tea
More example sentences
  • The German soldier, instructed in killing and ordered to destroy him, held the photos.
  • In future local authorities, which are currently powerless, will be able to issue formal notices instructing the reduction of a hedge's height and its long-term maintenance.
  • After months of wrangling, a council last month issued an enforcement order instructing Mr Bennett to remove it or face prosecution.
order, command, direct, tell, enjoin, give the order to, give orders to, give the command to, require, call on, mandate, charge;
literary bid
2 [with object] Teach (someone) a subject or skill: he instructed them in the use of firearms [with object and clause]: instructing electors how to record their votes
More example sentences
  • I will instruct you and teach you.
  • The best in language and the worst in language are found in literature, and it's the best that instructs you, that teaches you.
  • With whom did He take counsel, and who instructed Him, and taught Him in the path of justice?
teach, school, give lessons to, coach, train, ground, enlighten, illuminate, inform, verse, edify, educate, upskill, tutor, guide, prepare, prime, din something into;
drill, discipline, put someone through their paces
3 [with object] Law (Of a client) employ or authorize (a solicitor or barrister) to act on one’s behalf: he must indicate which of the firms he wishes to instruct
More example sentences
  • The judge properly addressed the question of whether it was ACP or Mr Atkinson who was the client instructing the company's solicitors.
  • But the onus is of course on them to instruct us, as it would be for any client to instruct their solicitor.
  • I made it very clear to the defendant that he should instruct a solicitor if he wanted to cross-examine the complainant, and should do this ASAP today if possible.
employ, authorize to act for one, brief, give information to
3.1(Of a solicitor) give directions or information to (a barrister) regarding a court case: she is skilled in interviewing clients and instructing counsel
More example sentences
  • If counsel is instructed by a solicitor who is in court, he too should be allowed to attend the discussion.
  • This is called the Bar table, and on this side the solicitors who instruct the barristers and prepare their work, they sit there.
  • Counsel was instructed and advised that a single change of user from military to civilian would not amount to a material change of use.
4 [with object] Give information to (someone): [with clause]: the bank was instructed that the money from the deposit account was now held by the company
More example sentences
  • These officials should be instructed that they have the right and duty to refuse to obey any order to participate in torture.
  • Indeed, it is she who instructs him of his identity.
  • In an appendix on Polish pronunciation Ruane helpfully instructs us that the name is pronounced ‘pop-yeh-wooshko’ with the stress on the ‘woosh’.
inform, tell, let someone know, notify, apprise, advise, announce to, impart to, relate to, communicate to;
acquaint, familiarize, brief, prime, ground, enlighten, make conversant, make knowledgeable, send word to
informal put in the picture, fill in, clue in/up, put wise


Late Middle English (in sense 2): from Latin instruct- 'constructed, equipped, taught', from the verb instruere, from in- 'upon, towards' + struere 'pile up'.

Words that rhyme with instruct

abduct, adduct, conduct, construct, destruct, duct, misconduct, obstruct

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: in|struct

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