1. a section into which a course of study is divided, especially a single, continuous session of formal instruction in a subject: The manual was broken down into 50 lessons.
  2. a part of a book, an exercise, etc., that is assigned to a student for study: The lesson for today is on page 22. He worked assiduously at his music lesson.
  3. something to be learned or studied: the lessons of the past.
  4. a useful piece of practical wisdom acquired by experience or study: That accident certainly taught him a lesson in careful driving.
  5. something from which a person learns or should learn; an instructive example: Her faith should serve as a lesson to all of us.
  6. a reproof or punishment intended to teach one better ways.
  7. a portion of Scripture or other sacred writing read or appointed to be read at a divine service; lection; pericope.

verb (used with object)

  1. to teach; instruct; give a lesson to.
  2. to admonish or reprove.


    1. a unit, or single period of instruction in a subject; classan hour-long music lesson
    2. the content of such a unit
  1. material assigned for individual study
  2. something from which useful knowledge or principles can be learned; example
  3. the principles, knowledge, etc, gained
  4. a reprimand or punishment intended to correct
  5. a portion of Scripture appointed to be read at divine service


  1. (tr) rare to censure or punish

n.early 13c., “a reading aloud from the Bible,” also “something to be learned by a student,” from Old French leçon, from Latin lectionem (nominative lectio) “a reading,” noun of action from past participle stem of legere “to read” (see lecture (n.)). Transferred sense of “an occurrence from which something can be learned” is from 1580s. see learn one’s lesson; teach a lesson.

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