Definition of learn in English:

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Pronunciation: /ləːn/

verb (past and past participle learned /ləːnt/ /ləːnd/ or chiefly British learnt /ləːnt/)

[with object]
1Gain or acquire knowledge of or skill in (something) by study, experience, or being taught: they’d started learning French [with infinitive]: she is learning to play the piano [no object]: we learn from experience
More example sentences
  • Attitudes are learnt through observation of those in relative power or seniority.
  • A child is learning unbelievable amounts of information.
  • Neither does one want to waste time learning skills and information which will soon be as useless as hats for silt.
acquire a knowledge of, gain an understanding of, acquire skill in, become competent in, become proficient in, grasp, master, take in, absorb, assimilate, pick up, digest, familiarize oneself with;
become expert in, know inside out, know backwards, comprehend;
study, read up on, work at, apply oneself to, be taught, have lessons in, pursue
informal get the hang of, get clued up about, get the point of
1.1Commit to memory: I’d learned too many grim poems in school
More example sentences
  • Your mind may contain stores of knowledge because you learn rapidly, and you retain what has been learned.
  • Previous studies of bilingual memory have primarily used word lists as materials to be learned.
  • I haven't, for instance, recommended memorising great swathes of sporting statistics, or learning the eight times tables.
memorize, learn by heart, learn by rote, commit to memory, become word-perfect in, learn word for word, learn parrot-fashion, get off/down pat, have off/down pat, know, retain
informal get off by heart
archaic con
1.2Become aware of (something) by information or from observation: [with clause]: I learned that they had eaten already [no object]: the trading standards office learned of the illegal network
More example sentences
  • She was in her early fifties and her death was learned of with great regret by all who knew her during her short stay.
  • His passing last week was learned of with very deep and genuine regret within this community.
  • The Leader of the House is saying that the Minister did not have enough time to discover on what date he learnt a piece of information.
discover, find out, become aware, be made aware, be informed, have it brought to one's attention, hear, be given to understand, get to know, come to know, hear tell;
gather, understand, ascertain, establish, realize, determine
informal get wind of the fact, get wise to the fact
British informal suss out
North American informal dope out
2 archaic or informal Teach (someone): ‘That’ll learn you,’ he chuckled [with object and infinitive]: we’ll have to learn you to milk cows
More example sentences
  • So the help you got has learned you to have faith in yourself.


In modern standard English it is wrong to use learn to mean teach, as in that’ll learn you (correct use is that’ll teach you). This meaning has been recorded since the 13th century and has been used by writers such as Spenser, Bunyan, and Samuel Johnson, but it fell into disfavour in the early 19th century and is now found only in non-standard and dialect use.



Pronunciation: /ləːnəˈbɪlɪti/
Example sentences
  • We explore the learnability of concepts from samples using the paradigm of sample compression schemes.
  • In this paper, it is demonstrated, via a counterexample, that E-stability generally does not imply learnability of rational expectations equilibria.
  • In contrast to ‘facility,’ (the other half of usability), learnability is almost always visual.


Example sentences
  • In proving these learnable results, crucial use is made of a theorem on the concept known as finite elasticity.
  • The characterization identifies models that are definitely learnable and definitely unlearnable by the entire class of algorithms.
  • The positive conclusion of this paper is that there are specific classes of concepts that are learnable in polynomial time using learning protocols of the kind described above.


Old English leornian 'learn' (in Middle English also 'teach'), of West Germanic origin; related to German lernen, also to lore1.

Words that rhyme with learn

adjourn, astern, Berne, burn, churn, concern, discern, earn, fern, fohn, kern, Lucerne, quern, Sauternes, spurn, stern, Sterne, tern, terne, Traherne, turn, urn, Verne, yearn

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: learn

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