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See also: Learned and learnèd



Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English lerned, lernd, lernyd, equivalent to learn +‎ -ed, which replaced the earlier lered (taught), from Old English (ġe)lǣred, past participle of lǣran (to teach).[1] Learn formerly had the meaning “to teach”, which is now found only in nonstandard speech, as well as its standard meaning of “to learn”.

Alternative formsEdit



learned (comparative more learned, superlative most learned)

  1. Having much learning, knowledgeable, erudite; highly educated.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, III.iii:
      the learned Merlin, well could tell, / Vnder what coast of heauen the man did dwell [...].
    • 1854, Charles Edward Pollock, Lake v. Plaxton, 156 Eng. Rep. 412 (Exch.) 414; 10 Ex. 199, 200 (Eng.)
      My learned Brother Cresswell directed the jury to make the calculation [...].
    • 2011 Feb, Jess Lourey, “A Pyramid Approach to Novel Writing”, in Writer, volume 124, number 2, page 30-32:
      The book opens with the Time Traveler dining with learned peers in late 1800s England, where he is trying to convince them that he has invented a time machine.
    • 2011 Spring, Jill Lepore, “How Longfellow Woke the Dead”, in American Scholar, volume 80, number 2, page 33-46:
      HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW used to be both the best-known poet in the English-speaking world and the most beloved, adored by the learned and the lowly ...
    My learned friend (a formal, courteous description of a lawyer)
Usage notesEdit
  • This adjectival sense of this word is sometimes spelled with a grave accent. This is meant to indicate that the second ‘e’ is pronounced as /ɪ/ or /ə/, rather than being silent, as in the verb form. This usage is largely restricted to poetry and other works in which it is important that the adjective’s disyllabicity be made explicit.
Derived termsEdit

Etymology 2Edit

From Old English leornian (to acquire knowledge)

Alternative formsEdit

  • learnt (UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand; rarely used in American English)




  1. (US and dialectal English) simple past tense and past participle of learn


learned (comparative more learned, superlative most learned)

  1. Derived from experience; acquired by learning.
    Everyday behavior is an overlay of learned behavior over instinct.
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.


  1. ^ learned, adj.”, in OED Online  , Oxford: Oxford University Press, launched 2000.

Further readingEdit