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From Middle English lessoun, from Old French leçon, from Latin lēctiō, lēctiōnem (a reading), from legō (I read, I gather). Doublet of lection.



lesson (plural lessons)

  1. A section of learning or teaching into which a wider learning content is divided.
    In our school a typical working week consists of around twenty lessons and ten hours of related laboratory work.
  2. A learning task assigned to a student; homework.
  3. Something learned or to be learned.
    Nature has many lessons to teach to us.
  4. Something that serves as a warning or encouragement.
    I hope this accident taught you a lesson!
    The accident was a good lesson to me.
  5. A section of the Bible or other religious text read as part of a divine service.
    Here endeth the first lesson.
  6. A severe lecture; reproof; rebuke; warning.
    • (Can we date this quote by Sir Philip Sidney and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      She would give her a lesson for walking so late.
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 8, in The Celebrity:
      The humor of my proposition appealed more strongly to Miss Trevor than I had looked for, and from that time forward she became her old self again; [] . Now she had come to look upon the matter in its true proportions, and her anticipation of a possible chance of teaching him a lesson was a pleasure to behold.
  7. (music) An exercise; a composition serving an educational purpose; a study.


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The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


lesson (third-person singular simple present lessons, present participle lessoning, simple past and past participle lessoned)

  1. To give a lesson to; to teach.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, III.vi:
      her owne daughter Pleasure, to whom shee / Made her companion, and her lessoned / In all the lore of loue, and goodly womanhead.
    • (Can we date this quote by Byron and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      To rest the weary, and to soothe the sad, / Doth lesson happier men, and shame at least the bad.


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Middle English[edit]



  1. Alternative form of lessoun