See also: Learn



Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English lernen, from Old English leornian (to acquire knowledge), from Proto-West Germanic *liʀnōn. Cognate with German lernen (to learn). See also lore.


learn (third-person singular simple present learns, present participle learning, simple past and past participle learned or (chiefly UK) learnt)

  1. To acquire, or attempt to acquire knowledge or an ability to do something.
  2. To attend a course or other educational activity.
  3. To gain knowledge from a bad experience so as to improve.
    learn from one's mistakes
  4. To study.
    I learn medicine.
    They learn psychology.
  5. To come to know; to become informed of; to find out.
    He just learned that he will be sacked.
Usage notesEdit
  • See other, dated and regional, sense of learn below.
Derived termsEdit
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


learn (plural learns)

  1. The act of learning something
    • 2003, Gregory A. Raymer, The Woodie Chronicles: My Journey Through America on the road t recovery in a 1949 Woodie Wagon:
      I did a quick learn of the place by watching the people shuffle in. There was a healthy mix of beautiful and freaky people, who shared a few common denominators []

Etymology 2Edit

Possibly related to Middle English leren, from Old English lǣran (to teach, instruct, indoctrinate), from Proto-West Germanic *laiʀijan, from Proto-Germanic *laizijaną (to teach), from *laizō (lore, teaching", literally, "track, trace), from Proto-Indo-European *leys- (to track, furrow).

Cognate with Scots lere, leir, Saterland Frisian leere, West Frisian leare, Dutch leren, German lehren, Swedish lära. See also lear, lore. But normally the Middle English word would give lere, not learn.


learn (third-person singular simple present learns, present participle learning, simple past and past participle learned or learnt)

  1. (now only in non-standard speech and dialects) To teach.
    Give him a clip round the ear. That'll learn him!
    • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, chapter IX, in Le Morte Darthur, book VIII:
      And whan she had serched hym / she fond in the bottome of his wound that therin was poyson / And soo she heled hym [] / and therfore Tramtrist cast grete loue to la beale Isoud / for she was at that tyme the fairest mayde and lady of the worlde / And there Tramtryst lerned her to harpe / and she beganne to haue grete fantasye vnto hym
    • 1599, William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing, Act 4 Scene 1
      Sweet prince, you learn me noble thankfulness.
    • circa 1611, William Shakespeare, Cymbeline, Act I Scene 5:
      Have I not been / Thy pupil long? Hast thou not learn’d me how / To make perfumes?
    • 1993, The Simpsons, (18 Feb. 1993) Lisa's thoughts:
      That'll learn him to bust my tomater.
Usage notesEdit

Now often considered non-standard.

Derived termsEdit
Related termsEdit




Alternative formsEdit


From Old High German lernēn, lirnēn, from Proto-West Germanic *liʀnēn. Compare German lernen, English learn, Dutch leren.



  1. (Sappada, Sauris) to learn


  • “learn” in Patuzzi, Umberto, ed., (2013) Ünsarne Börtar [Our Words], Luserna, Italy: Comitato unitario delle isole linguistiche storiche germaniche in Italia / Einheitskomitee der historischen deutschen Sprachinseln in Italien



From Old English leornian



learn (third-person singular present learns, present participle learnin, past learnt, past participle learnt)

  1. To learn.
  2. To teach.