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

  • transitive v. To accustom (the young of a mammal) to take nourishment other than by suckling.
  • transitive v. To detach from that to which one is strongly habituated or devoted: She weaned herself from cigarettes.
  • transitive v. To accustom to something from an early age. Often used with on: "The northerners among the refugees ... were weaned on harsh weather and infertile soils and are known for their rigorous work ethic” ( Lowell Weiss).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A small child.
  • v. To cease giving milk to an offspring.
  • v. To quit from something to which one is addicted or habituated.
  • v. To cease to depend on the mother for nourishment.
  • v. To cease to depend.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A weanling; a young child.
  • transitive v. 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 v. Hence, to detach or alienate the affections of, from any object of desire; to reconcile to the want or loss of anything.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 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.
  • n. An infant; a weanling.
  • n. A child; a boy or girl of tender age.

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

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


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

Middle English wenen, from Old English wenian.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old English wenian.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Blend of wee and ane.


  • And my understanding of wean is a slow removal, not stopping cold turkey.

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  • Tommy’s howling like a fookin wean and it’s fookin dark but Seamus can feel the fookin dirt raining down on him.

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  • Weaning:The definition of the word wean is to withhold mother’s milk from the young of a mammal and substitute other nourishment.

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  • Clark's latest ad focuses on Bachmann's strong words against the current structuring of Social Security and a statement that the congresswoman made about the government needing to "wean" people off the program.

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  • In case you are worried about the implications of enlarging the manufacturing sector for pollution and energy usage, Ricardo Bayon says that we need to subsidize hydrogen fuel cells in order to "wean" our economy off of oil.

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  • LAVANDERA: No, we haven't, outside of what we've been able to kind of wean from the many of the blog entries that he had written over the Internet, but his family hasn't accepted any requests for interviews, and he hasn't either.

    CNN Transcript Apr 18, 2006

  • So after you start eating those vegetables, kind of wean yourself away from meat, then you can work on the car, okay.

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  • Since then, politicians have tried to "wean" us from our dependence on oil by artificially raising prices, using regulations to hamstring oil and coal producers, subsidizing or even mandating more fuel-efficient technologies and trying to persuade voters that wind, solar and alternative sources of fuel are the answer.


  • The release of the survey, commissioned by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Democracy for America and Credo Action, follows recent high-profile statements by Bachmann that she believes President Barack Obama wants to and extinction - if it fails to support Israel, and that government must "wean" Americans off of social safety net programs like Medicare and Social Security.


  • Dr. Conrad Murray to "wean" Michael off his alleged dependence on pills by medicating him with Propofol while he was preparing for his

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  • "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

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

    November 15, 2007