- The definition of wean is to withdraw by small degrees, or to get a small child or animal off of its mother's milk and onto other food.
An example of wean is when you stop breastfeeding and start feeding your child food.
This baby is being weaned onto solid food.
- to cause (a child or young animal) to become accustomed gradually to food other than its mother's milk; to cause to give up suckling; now, often, to cause to give up drinking milk from a bottle with a nipple
- to withdraw (a person) by degrees (from a habit, object of affection, occupation, etc.), as by substituting some other interest
- to be raised on or brought up with; to become accustomed to: with on: weaned on good books
Origin of weanMiddle English wenen ; from Old English wenian, to accustom, train, with sense of awenian, to wean ; from a- (; from af-, away) + wenian ; from Indo-European base an unverified form wen-, to desire, attain, be satisfied from source Classical Latin venus, love
Origin of weancontr. of Scottish wee ane, little one
transitive verbweaned, wean·ing, weans
- To accustom (the young of a mammal) to take nourishment other than by suckling.
- To detach from that to which one is strongly habituated or devoted: She weaned herself from cigarettes.
- To accustom to something from an early age. Often used with on: “The northerners among the refugees &ellipsis; were weaned on harsh weather and infertile soils and are known for their rigorous work ethic” (Lowell Weiss).
Origin of weanMiddle English wenen, from Old English wenian; see wen-1 in Indo-European roots. Usage Note: In recent years weaned on has come to be widely used in the sense “raised on,” as in Moviegoers weaned on the Star Trek TV series will doubtless find the film to their liking. A few critics have objected to this usage on the grounds that wean refers literally to a detachment from a source of nourishment. But the process of weaning involves a substitution of some other form of nourishment for mother's milk; thus it is sometimes said that a child is weaned onto or on sugar water. Hence a sentence like Paul was weaned on folk music may suggest metaphorically that Paul's exposure to folk music began from the time he stopped nursing, that is, from a very early age.
(third-person singular simple present weans, present participle weaning, simple past and past participle weaned)
- To cease giving milk to an offspring; to accustom and reconcile (a child or young animal) to a want or deprivation of mother's milk; to take from the breast or udder.
- The cow has weaned her calf.
- To cause to quit something to which one is addicted or habituated.
- He managed to wean himself off heroin.
- (intransitive) To cease to depend on the mother for nourishment.
- The kittens are finally weaning.
- (intransitive) To cease to depend.
- She is weaning from her addiction to tobacco.
Old English wenian.
- (Scotland) A small child.