Language: Old English
Origin: leornian


learn S1 W1 past tense and past participle learned or learnt especially British English


[intransitive and transitive] to gain knowledge of a subject or skill, by experience, by studying it, or by being taught [↪ teach]:
What's the best way to learn a language?
learn (how) to do something
I learnt to drive when I was 17.
Hector spent the winter learning how to cope with his blindness.
The teacher's task is to help the pupil learn.
learn (something) from somebody
I learned a lot from my father.
learn about
Kids can have fun and learn about music at the same time.
learn what
Youngsters must learn what is dangerous and what is not to be feared.
The student will learn from experience about the importance of planning.
! Do not say that you 'learn someone something' or 'learn someone how to do something'. Use teach: I taught him how to send an e-mail.

find out

[intransitive and transitive] formal to find out information or news by hearing it from someone else or reading it [= discover]:
I didn't tell her the truth. She would learn it for herself soon enough.
learn of/about
He learned about his appointment by telephone yesterday.
learn (that)
Last week I learned that I was pregnant.
She was surprised to learn that he was a lot older than she had thought.
learn whether/who/why
I waited to learn whether I'd secured a college place.
We have yet to learn who will be the new manager.


[transitive] to get to know something so well that you can easily remember it [= memorize]:
The actors hardly had time to learn their lines before filming started.

change your behaviour

[intransitive and transitive] to gradually understand a situation and start behaving in the way that you should
learn (that)
They have to learn that they can't just do whatever they like.
learn to do something
Young hairdressers must learn to treat the client as a person, not a head of hair.
I've told him a hundred times not to bully people, but he never learns.
learn from
You have to learn from your mistakes (=understand why what you did was wrong).
the lessons learned in the Gulf War

somebody has learned their lesson

used to say that someone will not do something wrong or stupid again, because they suffered as a result:
I've learned my lesson; I've now got a burglar alarm and a guard dog.

learn (something) the hard way

to understand a situation or develop a skill by learning from your mistakes and bad experiences

that'll learn somebody!

spoken used when something bad has just happened to someone as a result of their actions, especially when they ignored a warning

➔ live and learn

at live1 (20)

Dictionary results for "learn"
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