Word of the Day


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Liz Potter
Written by Liz Potter


someone whose job is to teach

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

Origin and usage

The noun teacher derives from the verb ‘teach’, which comes from Old English, has been used in English since the 9th century, and is related to similar words in other Germanic languages. Teacher dates from the late 13th century.


To teach originally meant to show, with the meaning of ‘instruct’ coming a little later. Last Saturday was World Teachers‘ Day, a UNESCO-sponsored celebration of teachers and the work they do that has been held annually since 1994. The theme this year is “Young Teachers: The future of the Profession.” Many of us can recall one or more teachers who helped shape our lives by sparking or fostering an enthusiasm for a particular subject, perhaps even setting us on the path to a future career. Teacher forms part of many compounds, including class teacher, supply teacher, teacher’s pet and teacher training. There are many different words for different types of teacher which you can explore in the Macmillan Dictionary thesaurus entry here. If you want to dig deeper, the ‘Explore related meanings’ box contains links to related areas such as ‘Teachers in college or university‘, or ‘Teaching and ways of teaching‘.


“One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.”
(Malala Yousafzai)

“Discussion in class, which means letting twenty young blockheads and two cocky neurotics discuss something that neither their teacher nor they know.”
(Vladimir Nabokov, Pnin)

Related words

coach, educator, instructor, pedagogue

Browse related words in the Macmillan Thesaurus.

About the author

Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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