\ˈwēn \
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

In the original novel by Margaret Atwood, Handmaids in Gilead customarily stay within the household until after the infant has weaned off of breastfeeding. Meagan Fredette, refinery29.com, "The Handmaid’s Tale’s Creator Hinted About Offred’s Baby’s Future In Season 3," 10 June 2018 While Ariza will wean minutes away from somebody, he, Tyson Chandler and Jared Dudley will be a useful trio of leaders in an otherwise fresh-faced locker room. Jeremy Woo, SI.com, "Grades: Suns Maintain Long-Term Flexibility With Locker Room Addition of Trevor Ariza," 1 July 2018 The idea is to foster taller, more compact residential neighborhoods that wean people from long, gas-guzzling commutes, reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. Conor Dougherty And Brad Plumer, New York Times, "A Bold, Divisive Plan to Wean Californians From Cars," 16 Mar. 2018 China has ambitious goals to wean itself off a heavy reliance on foreign chips, which account for 90% of what is used to make laptops, mobile phones and other electronics in China. Chuin-wei Yap, WSJ, "Micron Barred From Selling Some Products in China," 4 July 2018 At about five weeks of age, the newborns are expected to begin exploring their new environment, weaning off their mother’s milk around three months. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "The National Zoo’s Golden Lion Tamarins Delight Curators with the Delivery of Twins," 3 July 2018 Many Greenlandic politicians reckon that new revenue streams from mining and tourism can help to wean the territory off Danish handouts. The Economist, "Chinese investment may help Greenland become independent from Denmark," 3 May 2018 Allowing the use of cannabis to help wean people off of opioids could have a big impact on the state as the opioid epidemic continues. Aubrey Nagle, Philly.com, "Starbucks protests continue, DA says Meek Mill should get new trial | Morning Newsletter," 17 Apr. 2018 Fifteen years ago, when Michael was just 20 years old, his parents forced him to go there to wean himself off his growing addiction to opioids. Katrine Jo Andersen, The New Republic, "Rejected by A.A.," 27 June 2018

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.

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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

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Phrases Related to wean

wean from/off

wean on

Statistics for wean

Last Updated

11 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for wean

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

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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 \
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.

\ˈwēn \

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

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Comments on wean

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a state of commotion or excitement

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