un·​learn | \ ˌən-ˈlərn How to pronounce unlearn (audio) \
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 The people who will flourish in this new world are those who can a) learn to learn, b) learn to unlearn, and c) learn to relearn. Ravi Kumar, Quartz at Work, "How can we create a workforce full of lifelong learners?," 20 Jan. 2020 What distinguishes his work is his beginner’s mind, his lack of self-consciousness, his physical pursuit of unlearning what he has been taught by received information. New York Times, "The Unseen Worlds Beneath Us: Places of Beauty, Danger and Wisdom," 7 June 2019 Even with all my years of fat acceptance work and therapy and unlearning the toxic body messaging that everyone, especially women-identified or -presenting people, are exposed to all the time, this hurt. Kaye Toal, SELF, "I'm Fat and I'm Not Going to Lose Weight for My Wedding," 1 Mar. 2019 Whereas Jack, one guesses, was able to unlearn this ability as the world changed around him. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, "Wallace Shawn’s Late Night," 17 Jan. 2018 Those damaging myths must be unlearned, but all too often they're perpetuated by brands who won't cast us in runway shows or in ad campaigns. Rajee Aerie, Teen Vogue, "Rajee Aerie Talks Representation for Disabled People in the Lingerie Market," 20 Nov. 2018 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

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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Time Traveler for unlearn

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for unlearn

Last Updated

1 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Unlearn.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unlearn. Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for unlearn


How to pronounce unlearn (audio)

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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