\ 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

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is spearheading an ambitious plan to wean the kingdom’s economy away from oil by boosting the private sector and attracting foreign investment. Rory Jones, WSJ, "Saudi Arabia Plans More Spending Next Year to Boost Growth," 18 Dec. 2018 The Trump administration has tried to use the threat of crippling penalties to help U.S. companies get a head start over European rivals and wean Baghdad off its dependence on Iranian gas, according to administration officials. Isabel Coles, WSJ, "U.S. Grants Iraq Sanctions Relief in Bid to Boost Business Deals," 21 Dec. 2018 And Neolithic mothers may have begun to wean their children earlier, shifting them straight from milk to cheese or other fermented dairy foods. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Early cheese making may have helped lactose-intolerant farmers spread," 14 Sep. 2018 Petro, meanwhile, has focused on the country’s rampant inequality and promised big spending increases on education and healthcare, while also vowing to simultaneously wean the country off its oil (and coal) dependency. Ian Bremmer, Time, "5 Reasons Why Right-Wing Senator Ivan Duque Is Likely to Win Colombia's Presidential Election," 1 June 2018 Of course, the ban of Juul could also lead many adults, who are using the product to wean of cigarettes, in the dust. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Here’s Everything You Need To Know About the Juul Flavor Ban," 15 Nov. 2018 Populations that nurse their children longer also tend to have lower birthrates, which means those populations often don't grow as quickly as those that wean their children sooner. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Neanderthal teeth reveal lead exposure and difficult winters," 31 Oct. 2018 Since 2016, a new crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, the son of King Salman, has begun radical change to wean the economy off oil revenues and ensure jobs for the nearly half of the population under 25 years old. The Christian Science Monitor, "Saudi Arabia’s struggle to define national identity," 29 May 2018 Other times, babies have difficulty with the protocol and weaning might take a month, or even longer, if there are other health problems. Georgea Kovanis, Detroit Free Press, "The tiniest addicts: How U.P. babies became part of opioid epidemic," 2 May 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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Last Updated

18 Jan 2019

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on wean

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with wean

Spanish Central: Translation of wean

Nglish: Translation of wean for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wean for Arabic Speakers

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a complex dispute or argument

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