Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To accustom (the young of a mammal) to take nourishment other than by suckling.
  • transitive verb To detach from that to which one is strongly habituated or devoted.
  • transitive verb To accustom to something from an early age. Often used with on:

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To accustom (a child or young animal) to nourishment or food other than its mother's milk; disaccustom to the mother's breast: as, to wean a child.
  • To detach or alienate, as the affections, from any object of desire; reconcile to the want or loss of something; disengage from any habit, former pursuit, or enjoyment: as, to wean the heart from temporal enjoyments.
  • noun An infant; a weanling.
  • noun A child; a boy or girl of tender age.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To accustom and reconcile, as a child or other young animal, to a want or deprivation of mother's milk; to take from the breast or udder; to cause to cease to depend on the mother nourishment.
  • transitive verb Hence, to detach or alienate the affections of, from any object of desire; to reconcile to the want or loss of anything.
  • noun A weanling; a young child.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb transitive To cease giving milk to an offspring.
  • verb transitive To quit from something to which one is addicted or habituated.
  • verb intransitive To cease to depend on the mother for nourishment.
  • verb intransitive To cease to depend.
  • noun Scotland A small child.

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

  • verb detach the affections of
  • verb gradually deprive (infants and young mammals) of mother's milk

Etymologies

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

[Middle English wenen, from Old English wenian; see wen- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old English wenian.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Blend of wee and ane.

Examples

Comments

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  • Also means 'child' in Scots slang, especially in Glasgow area.

    November 15, 2007

  • "I couldn't leave them to look after themselves. Look at the size of them! But I'm too old, Lanark, to be pestered by bloody weans."

    - Alasdair Gray, Lanark, ch. 2

    January 19, 2009