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Is there an equivalent use of Autodidactic as a verb? Such as "John is an autodidactor". I couldn't find "autodidactor" or "Autodidact Eclipse RCP so I am better educated about how to use Eclipse RCP" as if it were a to-do item.

I am trying to express the idea of self-taught as a verb: One can learn things on one's own, but does that mean that one can autodidact things?

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    I think you mean an "agent noun" (i.e. "autodidactor") rather than a verb. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agent_noun
    – Urbycoz
    Jul 25, 2011 at 12:34
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    @Urbycoz: Good point. I couldn't see why OP thought "autodidactor" involved any usage as a verb, but I think you have identified the [false] chain of reasoning. Jul 25, 2011 at 13:12
  • I am a self-taught Eclipse RCP user.
    – Lambie
    Feb 1, 2016 at 22:58
  • I was thinking autodidaction. As in "I am capable of autodidaction."
    – Devon
    Jun 18, 2018 at 15:25
  • Unfortunately, that's not using it as a verb.
    – JJJ
    Jun 18, 2018 at 15:31

1 Answer 1

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The root word here is the adjective didactic, meaning instructive (sometimes, particularly of morals), which can be pluralised to give a noun meaning the art or science of teaching (the alternative being didacticism).

There are no verb forms associated with this root, but it can take the prefix auto- (Greek, self, same). Thus an autodidact is one who teaches [or more usually, has taught] himself.

So you don't say "John is an autodidactor" because John is an autodidactic.

A common expression used by people who don't know/like such relatively obscure words is to say "John studied at the University of Life", which gives a clue as to why we don't really need autodidact to function as a verb - the relevant verb is usually just live [every day of your life as a learning experience].

I suspect OP would like autodidactic to have more the sense of solitary home study, but since the word is more evocative of dispensing teaching than absorbing learning, I feel this extension of meaning is unlikely to catch on. A reasonable alternative for OP's context is..

Teach myself Eclipse RCP so I know better how to use it.

or perhaps Learn about..., Study..., or Bone up on... (that last is somewhat informal, but does perhaps imply "by my own efforts" more strongly).

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