What word does your mother always say?


[ween] /win/
verb (used with object)
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.
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.
Verb phrases
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.
Origin of wean
before 1000; Middle English wenen, Old English wenian; cognate with Dutch wennen, German gewöhnen, Old Norse venja to accustom
Related forms
[wee-nid-nis, weend-] /ˈwi nɪd nɪs, ˈwind-/ (Show IPA),
postweaning, adjective
preweaning, adjective
unweaned, adjective
Can be confused
wean, ween. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for wean
  • The car companies have said that they want to wean buyers from rebates, which add enormously to their marketing costs.
  • But colleges may find it difficult to wean themselves off coal.
  • Several drugs help to wean cocaine addicts from their physical dependency, but the compounds are limited in effectiveness.
  • Advocates say plug-in hybrids are the best chance to address global warming and wean the nation from oil.
  • Every so often some administration wonders how to wean itself off.
  • She attempted to wean herself off both drugs but inexorably lost ground.
  • And so our own military is working as quickly as possible to wean itself off petroleum through energy efficiency and biofuels.
  • And yet the transportation industry can't imagine a business model that would attempt to wean people from their beloved cars.
  • All three have been trying to wean themselves off lending.
  • We wean all ours onto raw meaty bones and blended veg as soon as they're old enough.
British Dictionary definitions for wean


verb (transitive)
to cause (a child or young mammal) to replace mother's milk by other nourishment
(usually foll by from) to cause to desert former habits, pursuits, etc
Derived Forms
weaning, noun
Word Origin
Old English wenian to accustom; related to German gewöhnen to get used to


/weɪn; wiːn/
(Scot & Northern English, dialect) a child; infant
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
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Word Origin and History for wean

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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wean in Medicine

wean (wēn)
v. weaned, wean·ing, weans

  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.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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wean in the Bible

Among the Hebrews children (whom it was customary for the mothers to nurse, Ex. 2:7-9; 1 Sam. 1:23; Cant. 8:1) were not generally weaned till they were three or four years old.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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