Printable Version
Pronunciation: e-jê-kay-shên Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, mass

Meaning: 1. Instruction, teaching, providing knowledge and developing the skills for using it. 2. The knowledge obtained from instruction, as to have a good education. 3. A program of instruction for imparting knowledge and thinking skills. 4. Pedagogy, the discipline of teaching how to teach.

Notes: Because education plays such a central role in industrialized nations, this word has procreated a large family: educative, educatory, and educational are adjectives meaning "providing education". Educable means "capable of being educated". Someone who teaches is an educator and someone who teaches teaching is an educationist.

In Play: Since educational institutions around the world are booting up for a new academic year, today's contributor Education is far cheaper than ignorance(see Word History) thought this word appropriate for the season. The psychologist B. F. Skinner once said, "Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten." Oscar Wilde, on the other hand, thought that nothing worth knowing can be taught. What does Dr. Goodword think? "Education is expensive but not nearly so much as ignorance." Everyone has an opinion; click here for a sampling.

Word History: Today's Good Word comes down from Latin educatus, the past participle of educare "to lead out, bring up" from ex "out of" + ducere "to lead". The original metaphor was probably that of leading someone out of childhood and into the world. The noun from the Latin verb ducere, ductio(n) "leading, carrying", came down to Italian as doccia "(water) pipe, conduit", where it was borrowed by French as douche "shower". (Today's Good Word had a special significance to Katie O'Briant, who was a student and visitor to our own, very educational Alpha Agora when she suggested this word.)

Dr. Goodword,

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