WORD ORIGIN verb (used with object) to accustom (a child or young animal) to food other than its mother's milk; cause to lose the need to suckle or turn to the mother for food. to withdraw (a person, the affections, one's dependency, etc.) from some object, habit, form of enjoyment, or the like: The need to reduce had weaned us from rich desserts. Verb Phrases wean on, to accustom to; to familiarize with from, or as if from, childhood: a brilliant student weaned on the classics; suburban kids weaned on rock music. Origin of wean before 1000; Middle English wenen, Old English wenian; cognate with Dutch wennen, German gewöhnen, Old Norse venja to accustom Related forms wean·ed·ness , [ wee-nid-nis, weend-] /ˈwi nɪd nɪs, ˈwind-/ noun post·wean·ing, adjective pre·wean·ing, adjective un·weaned, adjective
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
British Dictionary definitions for post-weaning verb (tr) to cause (a child or young mammal) to replace mother's milk by other nourishment ( usually foll by from) to cause to desert former habits, pursuits, etc Derived Forms weaning, noun Word Origin for wean
wenian to accustom; related to German gewöhnen to get used to noun Scot and Northern English dialect a child; infant Word Origin for wean
a contraction of
wee ane or perhaps a shortened form of weanling
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
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Word Origin and History for post-weaning v.
wenian "to accustom," from Proto-Germanic *wanjanan (cf. Old Norse venja, Dutch wennen, Old High German giwennan, German gewöhnen "to accustom"), from *wanaz "accustomed" (related to wont). The sense of weaning a child from the breast in Old English was generally expressed by gewenian or awenian, which has a sense of "unaccustom" (cf. German abgewöhnen, entwöhnen "to wean," literally "to unaccustom"). The prefix subsequently wore off. Figurative extension to any pursuit or habit is from 1520s.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
v. To deprive permanently of breast milk and begin to nourish with other food. To accustom the young of a mammal to take nourishment other than by suckling. To gradually withdraw from a life-support system.
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