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wean

[ween]
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verb (used with object)
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
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Verb Phrases
  1. 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.
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Origin of wean

before 1000; Middle English wenen, Old English wenian; cognate with Dutch wennen, German gewöhnen, Old Norse venja to accustom
Related formswean·ed·ness [wee-nid-nis, weend-] /ˈwi nɪd nɪs, ˈwind-/, nounpost·wean·ing, adjectivepre·wean·ing, adjectiveun·weaned, adjective
Can be confusedwean ween
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for wean

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • But I might have known that she could not, all at once, wean herself from the trumpery.

  • I wrote Turner Simpson to send you the pup when it was old enough to wean.

  • Did she wish to wean the tempestuous Judy from her old friends?

  • No good can come of his intimacy with Bigot; Amlie, you must wean him from it.

    The Golden Dog

    William Kirby

  • It's a thrawn-fac'd wean that's gotten against the father's will.

    The Proverbs of Scotland

    Alexander Hislop


British Dictionary definitions for wean

wean1

verb (tr)
  1. to cause (a child or young mammal) to replace mother's milk by other nourishment
  2. (usually foll by from) to cause to desert former habits, pursuits, etc
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Derived Formsweaning, noun

Word Origin

Old English wenian to accustom; related to German gewöhnen to get used to

wean2

noun
  1. Scot and Northern English dialect a child; infant
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Word Origin

a contraction of wee ane or perhaps a shortened form of weanling
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

Word Origin and History for wean

v.

Old English 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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

wean in Medicine

wean

(wēn)
v.
  1. To deprive permanently of breast milk and begin to nourish with other food.
  2. To accustom the young of a mammal to take nourishment other than by suckling.
  3. To gradually withdraw from a life-support system.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.