Meaning of learn in English:


Pronunciation /ləːn/

See synonyms for learn

Translate learn into Spanish

verbpast participle verb learned/ləːnt/ /ləːnd/ , mainly British past participle verb learnt/ləːnt/

[with object]
  • 1Gain or acquire knowledge of or skill in (something) by study, experience, or being taught.

    ‘they'd started learning French’
    • ‘she is learning to play the piano’
    • ‘we learn from experience’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘You mentioned that you could not be aware while learning a foreign language.’
    • ‘He adds that he is no longer a dreadful student, has letters after his name, and has learnt a useful lesson from his North Sea mishap.’
    • ‘One way to tell a young soul from an old soul is to observe how quickly he learns karma's lessons in life.’
    • ‘He also observed the students learning an aversion to investigating patients' social and psychological problems.’
    • ‘I can't find a moral in the story, or a worth-while lesson to be learned of it.’
    • ‘Ormond Square was my first training ground, where I learnt my craft and developed a love for the beautiful game that I still have.’
    • ‘Their author has evolved into a prose sophisticate, and clearly learnt some important lessons along the way.’
    • ‘The gifted apprentice attaches himself early to a wise teacher, learning the craft at his hands, six or eight hours a day, every day of the week.’
    • ‘Everyone gets more or less that same elementary education, learning basic history and to read and to do basic math.’
    • ‘She was learning American thought and culture without any criticism.’
    • ‘On board were up to 130 cadets getting a general education as well as learning seamanship from the 20 staff.’
    • ‘Here, a group of children are busy learning the basics of education these days through a theatre workshop.’
    • ‘He had grown his intellectual ego, by learning the art of retrospection and sober second thought.’
    • ‘For him, the key to settling successfully in a foreign culture is not just learning the language.’
    • ‘And rather than trust the author to go on developing and learning her trade, they dumped her.’
    • ‘You would think, after the first 11 years, that the wise guys might have learned their lesson and moved their operations somewhere else.’
    • ‘One now asks whether cultural codes are learned in some language-like way.’
    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
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Commit to memory.
      ‘I'd learned too many grim poems in school’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Many of the chants and songs I learned are soon to fade from campus memory.’
      • ‘Well, I think part of the problem is that the students are not learning and retaining the material.’
      • ‘It seems college instruction has moved or is moving back to memorization and rote learning.’
      • ‘He learns bucket-loads of information, including the brazenly anti-union pitches made by the various nations.’
      • ‘There is likely to be a real zest for learning facts and information.’
      • ‘There is no information about where Ellen learned her tales or from whom.’
      • ‘Name by name, she learned them so that she could remember them later on when riding.’
      • ‘Just wait and see how mobiles companies will try to make us learn a numeric user name rather than an alphabetic one.’
      • ‘You try to concentrate on learning pertinent facts and are aware that what is now in vogue will eventually become dated.’
      • ‘We learned a large amount of information and did a mock theory test which has prepared us all for our theory test to get our provisional licences.’
      memorize, learn by heart, learn by rote, commit to memory, become word-perfect in, learn word for word, learn parrot-fashion, get down pat, get off pat, have down pat, have off pat, know, retain
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    2. 1.2Become aware of (something) by information or from observation.
      with clause ‘I learned that they had eaten already’
      • ‘the trading standards office learned of the illegal network’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Despite Lynn being in Honors, she was a big slacker and the teacher had learned this bit of information a long time ago.’
      • ‘She sighed when she thought about all the information that she had learned that night.’
      • ‘He said he deleted the names when he learned the report would be made public, as he only had one witness.’
      • ‘He learns his birth name as a teenager, but nothing more, and it is evident that this void has created a corresponding void in his soul.’
      • ‘He learns that three other names have been suggested to go.’
      • ‘Those were the same words a second-in-command had said when learning Jasmine's name three long years ago.’
      • ‘It is from him that I learned that liberation movements, revolution, terrorism live in a world of their own and create their own etymology.’
      • ‘He said he was shocked beyond belief when he learned that literacy students were having their course cut.’
      • ‘Being younger than her I learned loads of things by simple observation.’
      • ‘More can be learned of the conditions of prisoners in New Jersey than in either Connecticut or New York.’
      • ‘As usual there was a small turn out for the meeting but those who did attend learned a great deal of new information.’
      • ‘We first learned of its existence when she was eight years old and began having vision problems.’
      • ‘I first learned of this incident more than 20 years ago.’
      • ‘She only learned of her death when she returned for a home visit last week.’
      • ‘Her family was not consulted, and only learned of her death a month later.’
      • ‘I was unaware of the seriousness of her illness until I learned of her death.’
      • ‘Their grandfather had come to rescue them when he learned of their existence.’
      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
      View synonyms
  • 2 archaic, informal Teach (someone)

    • ‘‘That'll learn you,’ he chuckled’
    • ‘we'll have to learn you to milk cows’
    • ‘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


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