\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

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Other Words from learn

learnable \ ˈlər-​nə-​bəl \ adjective
learner noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for learn


get, master, pick up



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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

One by one, Jalen met each dog, learned their name and the officers taught him about them. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, "Police officers and K9s join boy with tumor to pray before his brain surgery," 13 July 2018 The learning and observation from the visits are complemented by a week-long group project to develop a 3D printing and awareness campaign that applies what students have learned into a practical context. Alex Park, Houston Chronicle, "Youths explore medicine at Global Teen Medical Summit," 13 July 2018 Yet this is where Larry Flynt would learn his most valuable lessons about business and human nature. Cincinnati Enquirer, "Read more from this Project," 13 July 2018 Everyone has dreams, and many dream of a perfect world, but most learn at an early age that the perfect world doesn’t just happen. latimes.com, "Immigrants want what we have: the American Dream," 12 July 2018 Also, sixth- to twelfth-graders are invited to play disc golf — or learn to play — at 4 p.m. Aug. 2 at 50-Acre Park, 91st and Rockwell. Vickie Snow Jurkowski, Daily Southtown, "From fests to concerts to stargazing, lots of events offer free admission this summer," 12 July 2018 The duo’s connection is tested when Remy learns Pup’s been bullying a classmate: a boy who likes to paint his nails. James Hebert, sandiegouniontribune.com, "In the wings: Southern California playwrights go 'Out on a Limb' again," 11 July 2018 But the Roman scholar’s encyclopedic work still stands as the most impressive synthesis of scientific knowledge in the ancient era, as scientists have once again learned. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Scientists admit Pliny the Elder was right about orcas and whales.," 11 July 2018 During our writer’s boyhood, a suburban forest was a gateway to learning, exploration, and natural splendors that shaped his life and career. The Editors, Outside Online, "The Moments That Changed Us," 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.

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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

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Statistics for learn

Last Updated

9 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for learn

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

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More Definitions for learn



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)


\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


\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

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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).


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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