\ 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 onstudents 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 Television-watching soared in the U.S. when stay-at-home orders began, but new data shows that Americans have started to wean themselves from the tube. Patrick J. Lyons, New York Times, "Coronavirus Briefing: What Happened Today," 30 Apr. 2020 Opium and coal addiction blended with one another, infecting China, which has since been able to wean itself only from the former. On Barak, Quartz, "Fossil fuels are propelling Covid-19—and the next pandemic," 16 Apr. 2020 Juul has long pushed its e-cigarettes as an alternative for adults looking to wean themselves from tobacco products. Los Angeles Times, "Juul Labs CEO Kevin Burns is stepping down amid vaping illness warnings," 25 Sep. 2019 Trump is right that Democrats want to wean the U.S. off gas-powered cars: Both Biden and Sanders’ climate plans set aggressive targets to decarbonize the transportation sector. Josh Siegel, Washington Examiner, "Trump's 'art of the deal' skills tested by oil price war," 11 Mar. 2020 During an April 2014 trip to Ukraine, Biden unveiled a crisis support package that included enlisting several U.S. government agencies to promote shale gas development, meant to wean Ukraine off Russian gas. Kate Aronoff, The New Republic, "Joe Biden’s Sketchy Climate Record," 10 Mar. 2020 Take things slow to wean your body off of added sugar and focus on one step at a time. Stefani Sassos, Ms, Rdn, Cso, Good Housekeeping, "What Is a No-Sugar Diet? A Nutritionist Explains the Benefits of This Trend," 24 Feb. 2020 The British government’s plan for a post-Brexit immigration overhaul was designed to wean the economy off its reliance on cheap foreign labor. Ceylan Yeginsu, BostonGlobe.com, "Women will be hit hard by UK’s new immigration rules, experts warn," 20 Feb. 2020 Suboxone reduces withdrawal symptoms and is used to wean heroin and opioid users off the addictive drugs. Eric Heisig, cleveland, "Ohio to receive $39 million from drug company following investigation into opioid addiction treatment medication Suboxone," 9 Jan. 2020

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Statistics for wean

Last Updated

9 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Wean.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wean. Accessed 31 May. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for wean


How to pronounce wean (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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