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

  • transitive v. To gain knowledge, comprehension, or mastery of through experience or study.
  • transitive v. To fix in the mind or memory; memorize: learned the speech in a few hours.
  • transitive v. To acquire experience of or an ability or a skill in: learn tolerance; learned how to whistle.
  • transitive v. To become aware: learned that it was best not to argue.
  • transitive v. To become informed of; find out. See Synonyms at discover.
  • transitive v. Nonstandard To cause to acquire knowledge; teach.
  • transitive v. Obsolete To give information to.
  • intransitive v. To gain knowledge, information, comprehension, or skill: learns quickly; learned about computers; learned of the job through friends.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To acquire, or attempt to acquire knowledge or an ability to do something.
  • v. To attend a course or other educational activity.
  • v. To make use of a bad experience.
  • v. To improve, maybe used in an order.
  • v. To be studying.
  • v. To come to know; to become informed of; to find out.
  • v. To teach.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To acquire knowledge or skill; to make progress in acquiring knowledge or skill; to receive information or instruction.
  • transitive v. To gain knowledge or information of; to ascertain by inquiry, study, or investigation; to receive instruction concerning; to fix in the mind; to acquire understanding of, or skill
  • transitive v. To communicate knowledge to; to teach.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To gain or acquire knowledge of or skill in; become informed of or acquainted with: as, to learn grammar; to learn the truth.
  • To teach.
  • To acquire or receive knowledge, information, or intelligence; receive instruction; profit from teaching: as, to learn how to act; the child learns rapidly.

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

  • v. get to know or become aware of, usually accidentally
  • v. find out, learn, or determine with certainty, usually by making an inquiry or other effort
  • v. impart skills or knowledge to
  • v. gain knowledge or skills
  • v. commit to memory; learn by heart
  • v. be a student of a certain subject


Middle English lernen, from Old English leornian; see leis-1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English lernen, from Old English leornian ("to acquire knowledge"). Compare German lernen. (Wiktionary)
From Old English læran ("to teach"). Compare German lehren. (Wiktionary)



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  • A contranym: both to be taught or to teach. ("I'm gonna learn you!")

    May 15, 2008