\ ˈwēn How to pronounce wean (audio) \
weaned; weaning; weans

Definition of wean

transitive verb

1 : to accustom (a young child or animal) to take food otherwise than by nursing
2 : to detach from a source of dependence being weaned off the medication wean the bears from human foodSports Illus. also : to free from a usually unwholesome habit or interest wean him off his excessive drinking settling his soldiers on the land …  , weaning them from habits of violence — Geoffrey Carnall
3 : to accustom to something from an early age used in the passive especially with on students weaned on the Internet for researchI was weaned on greasepaint— Helen Hayesthe principles upon which he had been weaned— J. A. Michener

Examples of wean in a Sentence

The calves are weaned at an early age.
Recent Examples on the Web López Obrador’s energy policies couldn’t be more different from those of President Biden, who has pushed for historic investments in clean energy and is seeking to wean the nation and world off fossil fuels. Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times, 17 Nov. 2021 The infrastructure law provides $5 billion over five years to wean the nation's school bus fleet off of fossil fuels. Tim Perry, CBS News, 16 Dec. 2021 But these plug-in induction hobs are also popping up all over the state, as activists and local governments lend them out as part of an aggressive campaign to wean home chefs from their gas addiction. Los Angeles Times, 16 Dec. 2021 The plan, which is advertised across Riyadh on posters and flags, is meant to wean the kingdom away from its historical reliance on oil and shift it toward new industries, including technology, pharmaceuticals and tourism. New York Times, 9 Dec. 2021 To meet that demand, the government depleted its supplies of natural gas, because the Chinese authorities had begun to wean their country off the highest-emitting fuel of all, coal. Ned Temko, The Christian Science Monitor, 14 Oct. 2021 But they’re so universally disliked that maybe the time has come—at least within your organization—to wean away from them. Lee Gimpel, Forbes, 30 Sep. 2021 Businesses trying to wean employees off remote work and lure them back to the office are spending more than ever on upscale workspaces, reaching deep into their pockets to pay high rents for modern, amenity-rich buildings. Peter Grant, WSJ, 2 Nov. 2021 Some utilities are working on solutions, attempting to wean themselves off fossil fuels and harden their grids against demand spikes caused by extreme weather. Time, 30 June 2021

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

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for wean

Middle English wenen, from Old English wenian to accustom, wean; akin to Old English wunian to be used to — more at wont

Buying Guide

Our team at The Usage has selected the best baby bottles.

Learn More About wean

Time Traveler for wean

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near wean




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for wean

Last Updated

2 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Wean.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wean. Accessed 21 Jan. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for wean



English Language Learners Definition of wean

: to start feeding (a child or young animal) food other than its mother's milk


\ ˈwēn How to pronounce wean (audio) \
weaned; weaning

Kids Definition of wean

1 : to get a child or young animal used to food other than its mother's milk
2 : to make someone stop desiring a thing he or she has been fond of I weaned myself off sweets.


transitive verb
\ ˈwēn How to pronounce wean (audio) \

Medical Definition of wean

1 : to accustom (as an infant or young child) to take food otherwise than by nursing
2 : to detach usually gradually from a cause of dependence or form of treatment

More from Merriam-Webster on wean

Nglish: Translation of wean for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wean for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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