The adaptive immune system, composed of lymphocytes, recognizes diversified antigens and generates immunological memory. According to the canonical model, it is the innate immune system that captures pathogens and senses environment to activate adaptive lymphocytes through antigen presentation, costimulatory signals and cytokine milieu. Emerging evidence indicates that environmental cues can be directly conveyed to lymphocytes by the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR). AhR is a ligand-activated transcription factor that widely expresses in many immune cell lineages and recognizes a broad range of ligands including endogenous and dietary metabolites, microbial derivatives and xenobiotics. This review will focus on the regulatory role of AhR in not only adaptive but also innate lymphocytes including recently discovered innate lymphoid cells.