There are 2 main definitions of wean in English:

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wean 1

Syllabification: wean


[with object]
1Accustom (an infant or other young mammal) to food other than its mother’s milk.
Example sentences
  • A breast-feeding mother will wean her infant before returning to work.
  • There were seventeen children in all, one a very young infant not even weaned from his mother's milk, yet.
  • Sperm whale mothers wean their calves on pieces of squid.
1.1Accustom (someone) to managing without something on which they have become dependent or of which they have become excessively fond: the doctor tried to wean her off the sleeping pills
More example sentences
  • Like all sorts of dependency we need to wean people off their cars, but at the same time we cannot leave people high and dry.
  • The patient dies 71 days later as doctors try to wean him from a ventilator.
  • She said she felt she had no support when trying to wean people off the drug, which is used for the short-term relief of anxiety.
accustom, train;
guide, encourage
1.2 (be weaned on) Be strongly influenced by (something), especially from an early age: I was weaned on a regular diet of Hollywood fantasy
More example sentences
  • The easy availability of alcohol means that kids and teenagers are at risk of being weaned on to alcohol at an early stage.
  • McLaughlin says that he can't explain why, but he often feels a need to revisit his past, and classic American songbook material was what he was weaned on as a young jazz player in the '60s.
  • Throughout the 1940s and 1950s, Carl Stalling wrote the music for the classic Warner Brothers cartoons that John Zorn was weaned on.


Old English wenian, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch wennen and German entwöhnen.

Words that rhyme with wean

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Definition of wean in:
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There are 2 main definitions of wean in English:

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wean 2 Syllabification: wean


Scottish & Northern English
A young child.
Example sentences
  • ‘My daughter goes to a fairly hard-core working-class school and every morning, I see guys kissing their weans, telling them how much they love them, and sending them on their way,’ says Mullan.
  • ‘It was a different matter when Jack Steedman had loads of weans going unpaid from door to door in Clydebank selling bingo tickets to raise funds,’ says Robertson.
  • ‘It's magic,’ is all the explanation weans require.


Late 17th century: contraction of wee ane 'little one'.

Definition of wean in:
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