Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To put (something learned) out of the mind; forget.
  • transitive v. To undo the effect of; put aside the practice of: tried to unlearn his habit of nail-biting.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To discard the knowledge of.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To forget, as what has been learned; to lose from memory; also, to learn the contrary of.
  • transitive v. To fail to learn.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To discard, put away, or get rid of (what one has learned); forget the knowledge of.
  • To fail to learn; not to learn.
  • To put away acquired knowledge; become ignorant.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. try to forget; put out of one's memory or knowledge
  • v. discard something previously learnt, like an old habit

Etymologies

From un- +‎ learn. (Wiktionary)

Examples

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Yoda wanted Luke to do this when he was training.

    June 18, 2012

  • Unlearning is needed to excel in a lot of fields, because it leads to "thinking outside the box." See also: deprogramming for a related concept of mind-renewal.

    October 23, 2007

  • You often hear jazz or rock musicians say that they needed to "unlearn" classical forms in order to experiment with improvisation or different melodic structures. Interesting concept...

    October 22, 2007