• synonyms


[uhn-lur-nid for 1, 2, 5; uhn-lurnd for 3, 4]
See more synonyms for unlearned on Thesaurus.com
  1. not learned; not scholarly or erudite.
  2. uneducated; untaught; unschooled; ignorant.
  3. not acquired by instruction, study, etc.
  4. known without being learned.
  5. of or relating to uneducated persons.
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Origin of unlearned

First recorded in 1350–1400, unlearned is from the Middle English word unlerned. See un-1, learned
Related formsun·learn·ed·ly, adverb


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.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to lose or discard knowledge.
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Origin of unlearn

First recorded in 1400–50, unlearn is from the late Middle English word unlernen. See un-2, learn
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

untaught, backward, illiterate, instinctive, natural, uncivilized, uneducated, unschooled, unversed, untutored

Examples from the Web for unlearned

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Old truths have been relearned; untruths have been unlearned.

  • You then, learning what you did not know, were unlearned when you were learning?

  • Then the unlearned learn, and not the wise, Cleinias, as you imagine.

  • Then after all the wise are the learners and not the unlearned; and your last answer to Euthydemus was wrong.

  • The power of his eloquence was felt equally by the learned and the unlearned.

    Patrick Henry

    Moses Coit Tyler

British Dictionary definitions for unlearned


  1. ignorant or untaught
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Derived Formsunlearnedly, adverb


verb -learns, -learning, -learned (-ˈlɜːnd) or -learnt
  1. to try to forget (something learnt) or to discard (accumulated knowledge)
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012