\ 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

All 10 of the candidates participating in the CNN forums have proposed plans starting at $1 trillion for investment and research to wean the U.S. economy off oil, gas and coal. Anchorage Daily News, "2020 Democratic candidates turn focus to climate change," 4 Sep. 2019 Receiver Emmanuel Sanders: The Broncos’ plan of weaning Sanders back into a routine paid off. Ryan O'halloran, The Denver Post, "Broncos Analysis: Exiting long preseason, reasons for optimism, concern," 30 Aug. 2019 Nicotine patches have failed to wean the girls off their addiction, according to the complaint. Jackie Borchardt, Cincinnati.com, "Ohio mom sues Juul after teen daughters become addicted to e-cigarettes. Juuling led to mood swings and migraines, suit says.," 26 Aug. 2019 The Vision Fund is betting on the need for more affordable and bigger storage systems to expand the use of renewable power and wean the world off fossil fuels, the story notes. Polina Marinova, Fortune, "How WeWork Incentivized CEO Adam Neumann To Take the Company Public: Term Sheet," 15 Aug. 2019 With the launch of these meals, the meatless food market gains visibility, which could help to begin weaning the world off meat. Ashley Carman, The Verge, "Subway joins other fast-food chains in testing meatless food," 7 Aug. 2019 After three years of numbing her need for heroin with methadone, my daughter had just spent the past 10 weeks weaning off it. Trina J. Wood, Washington Post, "Surrender control and hold them close: What my daughter’s addiction taught me about parenting," 3 Aug. 2019 Though its star has risen only recently, Spindrift has been around since 2010, when Creelman, a former Massachusetts farm boy, launched the company to wean himself off Diet Coke. Rachel Sugar, Vox, "How we stopped counting calories and learned to love Spindrift," 29 July 2019 Trump officials have consistently rejected the idea that the federal government should adopt policies aimed at weaning Americans off fossil fuels. Brady Dennis, BostonGlobe.com, "Major automakers strike climate deal with California, rebuffing Trump’s mileage freeze," 25 July 2019

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

13 Sep 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 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.
\ 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

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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

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).


concealment of treason or felony

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