learn

verb
\ ˈlərn \
learned\ˈlərnd, ˈlərnt \; learning

Definition of learn 

transitive verb

1a(1) : to gain knowledge or understanding of or skill in by study, instruction, or experience learn a trade learned to play chess

(2) : memorize learn the lines of a play

b : to come to be able learn to dance

c : to come to realize learned that honesty paid

2a nonstandard : teach

b obsolete : to inform of something

3 : to come to know : hear we just learned that he was ill

intransitive verb

: to acquire knowledge or skill or a behavioral tendency were shocked to learn of her death

Keep scrolling for more

Other words from learn

learnable \ˈlər-nə-bəl \ adjective
learner noun

Choose the Right Synonym for learn

discover, ascertain, determine, unearth, learn mean to find out what one did not previously know. discover may apply to something requiring exploration or investigation or to a chance encounter. discovered the source of the river ascertain implies effort to find the facts or the truth proceeding from awareness of ignorance or uncertainty. attempts to ascertain the population of the region determine emphasizes the intent to establish the facts definitely or precisely. unable to determine the origin of the word unearth implies bringing to light something forgotten or hidden. unearth old records learn may imply acquiring knowledge with little effort or conscious intention (as by simply being told) or it may imply study and practice. I learned her name only today learning Greek

Can learn mean teach?: Usage Guide

Learn in the sense of "teach" dates from the 13th century and was standard until at least the early 19th. made them drunk with true Hollands—and then learned them the art of making bargains —Washington Irving But by Mark Twain's time it was receding to a speech form associated chiefly with the less educated. never done nothing for three months but set in his back yard and learn that frog to jump —Mark Twain The present-day status of learn has not risen. This use persists in speech, but in writing it appears mainly in the representation of such speech or its deliberate imitation for effect.

Examples of learn in a Sentence

People learn throughout their lives. I can't swim yet, but I'm learning. She's interested in learning French. We had to learn the rules of the game. I'm trying to learn my lines for the play. We had to learn the names of the state capitals. She learned through a letter that her father had died. I later learned that they had never called. We finally learned the truth about what had happened.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Scientists hailed the discovery as marking a new era of astronomy in which researchers can learn about the universe using neutrinos as well as ordinary light. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: GOP candidates caught in a bind on Medicaid," 13 July 2018 Yet Croatia itself has also learned that a nation can rise above an ethnic or religious identity. The Christian Science Monitor, "Why this World Cup final is like no other," 13 July 2018 In addition to finding out his biological father was adopted, Tveidt learned that Blanchfield served in Vietnam. Michael Katz, idahostatesman, "His mother left him in a box. 31 years later, this Boisean has reunited with his father.," 12 July 2018 Jim Jordan and his supporters have learned that lesson well: Now @CNN is contacting all 100+ of our former staff and interns asking for dirt on me. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "The defense of Jim Jordan and the defense of Trump are now intertwined.," 12 July 2018 The freshman class will learn to grow together over several seasons, but Roach and sophomore point guard Matt Coleman will take the lead, while senior forward Dylan Osetkowski and springy sophomore Jericho Sims also provide help. Nick Moyle, San Antonio Express-News, "Roach’s return key for Longhorns," 12 July 2018 The county's radio system played a significant role in hampering the initial response, the commission learned Wednesday. NBC News, "Parkland shooting investigation finds radio issues delayed police response," 12 July 2018 But scientists recently learned that collisions between particles of the solar wind and stray particles of Earth's atmosphere produce low energy x-rays that light up the magnetosphere. Dennis Normile, Science | AAAS, "New China space missions will watch for colliding black holes, solar blasts," 11 July 2018 The audience learns early on that Annie is an artist who works from home making elaborate miniatures. Katherine Fusco, The Atlantic, "Hereditary and the Monstrousness of Creative Moms," 11 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'learn.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of learn

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a(1)

History and Etymology for learn

Middle English lernen, from Old English leornian; akin to Old High German lernēn to learn, Old English last footprint, Latin lira furrow, track

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about learn

Statistics for learn

Last Updated

14 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for learn

The first known use of learn was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for learn

learn

verb

English Language Learners Definition of learn

: to gain knowledge or skill by studying, practicing, being taught, or experiencing something

: to cause (something) to be in your memory by studying it

: to hear or be told (something) : to find out (something)

learn

verb
\ ˈlərn \
learned\ˈlərnd \ also learnt\ˈlərnt \; learning

Kids Definition of learn

1 : to get knowledge of or skill in by study, instruction, or experience I'm learning a foreign language.

2 : memorize Actors have to learn their lines.

3 : to become able through practice Babies learn to walk.

4 : to come to realize and understand You must learn right from wrong.

5 : to find out I finally learned what had happened.

6 : to gain knowledge The children were eager to learn.

Other words from learn

learner noun

learn

verb
\ ˈlərn \
learned\ˈlərnd, ˈlərnt \ also learnt\ˈlərnt \; learning

Medical Definition of learn 

transitive verb

: to acquire (a change in behavior) by learning

intransitive verb

: to acquire a behavioral tendency by learning

Other words from learn

learner noun

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on learn

What made you want to look up learn? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

alleviating pain or harshness

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!