Synonym Chooser

How does the verb learn contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of learn are ascertain, determine, discover, and unearth. While all these words mean "to find out what one did not previously know," learn may imply acquiring knowledge with little effort or conscious intention (as by simply being told) or it may imply study and practice.

I learned her name only today
learning Greek

Where would ascertain be a reasonable alternative to learn?

Although the words ascertain and learn have much in common, ascertain implies effort to find the facts or the truth proceeding from awareness of ignorance or uncertainty.

attempts to ascertain the population of the region

When would determine be a good substitute for learn?

The words determine and learn are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, determine emphasizes the intent to establish the facts definitely or precisely.

unable to determine the origin of the word

When could discover be used to replace learn?

The meanings of discover and learn largely overlap; however, discover may apply to something requiring exploration or investigation or to a chance encounter.

discovered the source of the river

When can unearth be used instead of learn?

While in some cases nearly identical to learn, unearth implies bringing to light something forgotten or hidden.

unearth old records

Thesaurus Entries Near learn

Cite this Entry

“Learn.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/learn. Accessed 28 Feb. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on learn

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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