[ uhn-lurn ]

verb (used with object)

  1. to forget or lose knowledge of.
  2. to discard or put aside certain knowledge as being false or binding:

    to unlearn preconceptions.

verb (used without object)

  1. to lose or discard knowledge.


/ ʌnˈlɜːn /


  1. to try to forget (something learnt) or to discard (accumulated knowledge)

Discover More

Word History and Origins

Origin of unlearn1

First recorded in 1400–50, unlearn is from the late Middle English word unlernen. See un- 2, learn

Discover More

Example Sentences

The current outbreak, Karan said, has forced public health officials to unlearn decades of knowledge about the virus, among them the previous bias that monkeypox was largely limited to children.

The trick for all of us, physicists included, is not learning new truths but unlearning old falsehoods.

From Time

For me, that means trying to unlearn 40-plus-year-old habits.

My first language is English, imagine trying to unlearn English.

Learning racial literacy can help young people unlearn and refuse all forms of social domination—to reconfigure, together, how we relate to one another.

From Time

I learned some things I can never unlearn about organic decomposition and human bone.

I learned some things I can't unlearn: human kneecaps look like rocks; bones when burnt, shrink and twist.

Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.

About how your character and judgments were formed and how you came to unlearn that first and not always painful formation?

Two friends try to unlearn bad-relationship habits by dating each other, exclusively, for 40 days.

Who likes to own that he has been a fool all his life,—to unlearn all that he has been taught in his youth?

As art multiplies, false tastes will arise, the early painters had not so much to unlearn as modern artists.

Women have to unlearn the false good manners of their slavery before they acquire the genuine good manners of their freedom.

And here labour has more to learn than ability; or perhaps it may be truer to say that socialism has given it more to unlearn.

Smithy was getting on very well, Thad thought, considering how much he had to "unlearn" in order to make a good scout.