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[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.
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 weaned
  • Even this generation of students was not weaned exclusively on electronic course materials.
  • On the other hand, their six or eight years of book education had weaned them away from the occupation of their mothers.
  • With the help of medication he improved and is now being weaned off of it.
  • Managers focused on smaller deals and weaned themselves off debt.
  • The economy must be weaned off the exceptional support, both fiscal and monetary, it has received during the recession.
  • The proposed farm will trade adult rabbits for weaned rabbits bred in cages kept by the surrounding community.
  • But humanity is a long way from being weaned from the petroleum, natural gas, and coal whose use causes much of this pollution.
  • Then they weaned themselves from mail-order catalogs, electronic gadgets and sugar.
  • She eventually weaned him off processed foods and retained custody.
  • The number of piglets weaned per sow in a year has a large influence on the profitability of swine production.
British Dictionary definitions for weaned


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 weaned



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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weaned 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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weaned 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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