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Fri., March 8, 2013, 3:53 p.m.

A Word A Day — indoctrinate

Good afternoon, Netizens

March 08, 2013

Word of the Day

  • indoctrinate
  • audio pronunciation
  • \in-DAHK-truh-nayt\


: to instruct especially in fundamentals or rudiments : teach
: to imbue with a usually partisan or sectarian opinion, point of view, or principle

New hires were indoctrinated with the company's philosophy during a two-day orientation.

"This is why sworn peace officers are indoctrinated not just in firearm use but in restraint." — From an editorial in the San Antonio Express-News, January 23, 2013


"Indoctrinate" simply means "brainwash" to many people. But its meaning isn't always so negative. When this verb first appeared in English in the 17th century, it simply meant "to teach"—a meaning that followed logically from its Latin root. The "doc" in the middle of "indoctrinate" derives from the Latin verb "docēre," which also means "to teach." Other offspring of "docēre" include "docent" (referring to a college professor or a museum guide), "docile," "doctor," "doctrine," and "document." It was not until the 19th century that "indoctrinate" began to see regular use in the sense of causing someone to absorb and take on certain opinions or principles.

From Merriam-Webster Online at



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Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.