un·​learn | \ˌən-ˈlərn \
unlearned; unlearning; unlearns

Definition of unlearn 

transitive verb

1 : to put out of one's knowledge or memory

2 : to undo the effect of : discard the habit of

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Examples of unlearn in a Sentence

It is hard to unlearn bad habits. let's hope that over the summer I don't unlearn everything I learned over the course of this past year

Recent Examples on the Web

Directors have had to unlearn all the old ways it was once done. Billowing drapery, the dimming of lights, a sudden curtain: that entire evasive language is old hat, as obsolete a thing now as barrel staves and buggy whips. Max Maller, Chicago Reader, "Fucking Men struggles with onstage intimacy realness," 11 July 2018 At four months, the twins unlearned how to sleep through the night and began waking every 20 minutes. Anndee Hochman, Philly.com, "The Parent Trip: Christy and Brian Fitzpatrick of Upper Dublin," 4 July 2018 She's probably used to hunching while playing and will have to unlearn that. Amy Watts, baltimoresun.com, "'Dancing With the Stars' recap: Athletes season kicks off with double elimination," 2 May 2018 That Wall Street would flirt with bad habits just 10 years after the same habits rocked the global economy is just the latest example of the United States trying to unlearn the lessons of the catastrophe. Jeff Andrews, Curbed, "Subprime mortgage bonds are making a comeback," 30 Mar. 2018 But don’t forget that there is also much to unlearn. John E. Mcintyre, baltimoresun.com, "What an editor can learn from a dog-whistle edit," 29 Mar. 2018 And if it was taught one way, it can be unlearned and taught another way. Lily Rothman, Time, "New Orleans Mayor on Fixing the Story of Race in America: ‘If It Was Taught One Way, It Can Be Unlearned’," 19 Mar. 2018 But the anxious brain sometimes learns the wrong things and has an awfully hard time unlearning them. Jeffrey Kluger, Time, "What Does an Anxiety Disorder Feel Like? Here Are 4 Signs You May Have a Problem," 11 Dec. 2017 And what has been learned, Mandela suggested, can be unlearned. Steve Haycox, Alaska Dispatch News, "History teaches that hate is learned — and can be unlearned," 25 Aug. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'unlearn.' 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 unlearn

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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The first known use of unlearn was in the 15th century

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English Language Learners Definition of unlearn

: to forget and stop doing (something, such as a habit) in a deliberate way because it is bad or incorrect

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