View synonyms for learn


[ lurn ]

verb (used with object)

, learned [lurnd] or learnt [lurnt], learn·ing [lur, -ning].
  1. to acquire knowledge of or skill in by study, instruction, or experience:

    to learn French;

    to learn to ski.

  2. to become informed of or acquainted with; ascertain:

    to learn the truth.

  3. to memorize:

    He learned the poem so he could recite it at the dinner.

  4. to gain (a habit, mannerism, etc.) by experience, exposure to example, or the like; acquire:

    She learned patience from her father.

  5. (of a device or machine, especially a computer) to perform an analogue of human learning with artificial intelligence.
  6. Nonstandard. to instruct in; teach.

verb (used without object)

, learned [lurnd] or learnt [lurnt], learn·ing [lur, -ning].
  1. to acquire knowledge or skill:

    to learn rapidly.

  2. to become informed (usually followed by of ):

    to learn of an accident.


/ lɜːn /


  1. when tr, may take a clause as object to gain knowledge of (something) or acquire skill in (some art or practice)
  2. tr to commit to memory
  3. tr to gain by experience, example, etc
  4. intr; often foll by of or about to become informed; know
  5. not_standard.
    to teach

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Derived Forms

  • ˈlearnable, adjective

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Other Words From

  • learna·ble adjective
  • mis·learn verb mislearned or mislearnt mislearning
  • outlearn verb (used with object) outlearned or outlearnt outlearning
  • re·learn verb relearned or relearnt relearning

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Word History and Origins

Origin of learn1

First recorded before 900; Middle English lernen, Old English leornian “to learn, read, ponder” (cognate with German lernen ); akin to lesan “to glean” (cognate with German lesen “to read”). See lear

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Word History and Origins

Origin of learn1

Old English leornian; related to Old High German lirnen

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Idioms and Phrases

  • by heart, learn
  • little knowledge (learning) is a dangerous thing
  • live and learn

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Example Sentences

That officer fretting about his “stance,” we learn, is plagued by PTSD that cripples him both on the job and at home.

If nobody on the outside will send Teresa money, should she learn a prison hustle?

Such errors are important because generations of young students now learn American history through film.

In his preface, Solomon suggests that other movements can learn from this one.

He returned home to learn that his 9-year-old son had been awakened in the night by a terrible dream.

It may be fifty or a hundred centuries since men, although they were fully grown up, still went on trying to learn.

Since we are to learn by thinking we must at the outset learn the definition of the three Laws of Thinking.

If one has thoughts to express, it is possible to learn very soon some method of construction.

If they had only been able to learn from the licentiate Alcaraz, who was experienced and very prudent!

When, however, you learn by rote you know the task as you learned it, and not in the reverse way.


Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.




lea-riglearn by heart