\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

The investment also aligns with goals of China’s government, which has prioritized renewable energy to wean the country off its reliance on coal power and address public dissatisfaction with rampant air pollution in its cities. Tripp Mickle, WSJ, "Apple Sets $300 Million Clean Energy Fund for China Amid Trade Tensions," 12 July 2018 Meanwhile, Petro’s proposal to slowly wean Colombia from its economical reliance on oil and coal exports and replace them with agricultural products such as avocados has been slammed as impractical. Chris Kraul, latimes.com, "Right-wing candidate has the edge going into Colombia's presidential election," 16 June 2018 Muhammad bin Salman, now Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, was preparing to launch a programme to wean the country off oil and diversify the economy. The Economist, "The impact of Masayoshi Son’s $100bn tech fund will be profound," 10 May 2018 Doctors have since started to wean Mckenna off her seizure medication and a neurologist told the family that infant’s brain activity is calming down. Benjamin Brown, Fox News, "Newborn hit by softball being treated at Mayo Clinic, shows signs of improvement," 10 May 2018 Of course, weaning a baby off of a pacifier isn’t easy. Korin Miller, SELF, "Why Nicky Hilton Has a ‘Strict’ No Pacifier Rule for Her Daughters," 20 Apr. 2018 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

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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Statistics for wean

Last Updated

25 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

What made you want to look up wean? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to express warning or disapproval

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