verb (learns, learning, learnt or learned /, has learnt or has learned)
The word learn sounds like turn.
1 to find out something, or how to do something, by studying or by doing it often:
When did you learn to swim?
I learnt English at school.
Learn this list of words for homework (= so you can remember them).
2 to hear about something:
I was sorry to learn of your father's death.
learn S1 W1 /lɜːn $ lɜːrn/ BrE AmE verb (past tense and past participle learned or learnt /lɜːnt $ lɜːrnt/ especially British English)
[Word Family: noun: learner, learning, unlearn; verb: learn; adverb: learnedly; adjective: learned]
[Language: Old English; Origin: leornian]
1. SUBJECT/SKILL [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.
Kids can have fun and learn about music at the same time.
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 email.
2. FIND OUT [intransitive and transitive] formal to find out information or news by hearing it from someone else or reading it SYN discover:
I didn’t tell her the truth. She would learn it for herself soon enough.
He learned about his appointment by telephone yesterday.
Last week I learned that I was pregnant.
She was surprised to learn that he was a lot older than she had thought.
I waited to learn whether I’d secured a college place.
We have yet to learn who will be the new manager.
3. REMEMBER [transitive] to get to know something so well that you can easily remember it SYN memorize:
The actors hardly had time to learn their lines before filming started.
4. CHANGE YOUR BEHAVIOUR [intransitive and transitive] to gradually understand a situation and start behaving in the way that you should
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.
You have to learn from your mistakes (=understand why what you did was wrong).
the lessons learned in the Gulf War
5. 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.
6. learn (something) the hard way to understand a situation or develop a skill by learning from your mistakes and bad experiences
7. 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)
▪ learn to gain knowledge of a subject or skill, especially by being taught or trained: How long have you been learning Italian? | What age can you learn to drive in America?
▪ study to learn about a subject by reading books, going to classes etc, especially at school or university: She’s studying music at Berkeley College in California.
▪ train to learn the skills and get the experience that you need in order to do a particular job: Julie’s training to be a nurse.
▪ pick something up to learn something without much effort, by watching or listening to other people: It’s easy to pick up a language when you’re living in a country. | The rules of the game are easy – you’ll soon pick them up.
▪ get the hang of something informal to learn how to do or use something that is fairly complicated, especially with practice: It took me a while to get the hang of all the features on my new camera.
▪ revise British English, review American English to study facts again, especially on your own, in order to learn them before an examination: Jenny’s upstairs revising for her Maths exam tomorrow.
▪ master to learn something so well that you have no difficulty with it, especially a skill or a language: She gave me a book called ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’. | I learnt Spanish for years but I never really mastered it.
learn [learn learns learned learnt learning] [lɜːn] [lɜːrn] verb (learnt, learnt [lɜːnt] ; [lɜːrnt] ) or (learned, learned)
1. transitive, intransitive to gain knowledge or skill by studying, from experience, from being taught, etc
• ~ sth to learn a language/a musical instrument/a skill
• ~ sth from sb/sth I learned a lot from my father.
• ~ sth from doing sth You can learn a great deal just from watching other players.
• ~ (about sth) She's very keen to learn about Japanese culture.
• The book is about how children learn.
• ~ to do sth He's learning to dance.
• ~ how, what, etc… He's still learning how to dance.
• Today we learnt how to use the new software.
2. intransitive, transitive to become aware of sth by hearing about it from sb else
• ~ of/about sth I learnt of her arrival from a close friend.
• ~ (that)… We were very surprised to learn (that) she had got married again.
• ~ who, what, etc… We only learned who the new teacher was a few days ago.
• ~ sth How did they react when they learned the news?
• it is learned that… It has been learned that 500 jobs are to be lost at the factory.
3. transitive ~ sth to study and repeat sth in order to be able to remember it
• We have to learn one of Hamlet's speeches for school tomorrow.
4. intransitive, transitive to gradually change your attitudes about sth so that you behave in a different way
• ~ (from sth) I'm sure she'll learn from her mistakes.
• ~ (that)… He'll just have to learn (that) he can't always have his own way.
• ~ to do sth I soon learned not to ask too many questions.
more at know/learn/find sth to your cost at cost n., you live and learn at live1, show sb/know/learn the ropes at rope n.
Idioms: learn the hard way ▪ learn your lesson
Old English leornian ‘learn’ (in Middle English also ‘teach’), of West Germanic origin; related to German lernen, also to lore.
1. T, I
• Did you learn German at school?
study • • do • • memorize • • pick sth up • • know • • master • • learn/know sth by heart • • get the hang of sth • |formal acquire •
learn/pick up/know sth from sb/sth
learn/memorize/pick up/know/master/get the hang of what…
learn/study/do/pick up/know/master/acquire a language
2. I, T (not usually used in the progressive tenses)
• I learned the news from a close friend.
discover • • find out (sth) • • hear •
learn/find out/hear about sth
learn/discover/find out the facts/truth/secret/identity
be surprised/shocked/delighted/interested to learn/discover/find out/hear sth
learn▪ He’s learning Spanish/to swim.
study▪ She studied chemistry for three years.
revise (BrE) (NAmE review) ▪ In this class we’ll revise/review what we did last week.
practise (BrE) (NAmE practice) ▪ If you practise speaking English, you’ll soon improve.
rehearse▪ We only had two weeks to rehearse the play.
• Children learn very quickly.
• He was eager to learn all she could teach him.
• I was surprised to learn that he was only 23.
• I've got a lot to learn, haven't I?
• She learned from watching others.
• Some people never learn, do they?
• The children learn about art by painting.
• They soon learn that bad behaviour is a sure-fire way of getting attention.
• We first learned of the problem from her school.
• You still have a lot to learn.
• learning about art
• Did you ever learn any languages?
• Everyone learns in a slightly different way.
• He learned to ride when he was about three years old.
• He'll just have to learn (that) he can't always have his own way.
• I learned of her arrival from a close friend.
• I'll need to learn how to use the new software.
• I'm sure she'll learn from her mistakes.
• I've forgotten most of what I learned at school.
• It's a bit overwhelming at first but don't worry, you'll soon learn.
• Most of the kids here are eager to learn.
• She's still quite young and she's got a lot to learn.
• She's very interested in learning more about Japanese culture.
• We have to learn one of Hamlet's speeches for school tomorrow.
• We were very surprised to learn that she had got married again.
• You can learn a great deal just from watching the other players.
• You'll have to learn your lines by next week.
learn /lɜːn/ US /lɝːn/
verb learned or UK ALSO learnt, learned or UK ALSO learnt
1 [I or T] to get knowledge or skill in a new subject or activity:
They learn Russian at school.
"Can you drive?" "I'm learning."
I've learned a lot about computers since I started work here.
[+ to infinitive] I'm learning to play the piano.
[+ question word + to infinitive] First you'll learn (how) to use this machine.
2 [T] to make yourself remember a piece of writing by reading it or repeating it many times:
I don't know how actors manage to learn all those lines.
We were told to learn Portia's speech by heart (= be able to say it from memory) for homework.
3 [I or T] to start to understand that you must change the way you behave:
She'll have to learn that she can't have everything she wants.
She soon learnt not to contradict him.
He's not afraid to learn from his mistakes.
4 [I or T] to be told facts or information that you did not know:
We were all shocked to learn of his death.
[+ (that)] I later learnt (that) the message had never arrived.
I only learnt about the accident later.
learned /ˈlɜːnd/ US /ˈlɝːnd/
describes behaviour which has been copied from others:
This sort of aggression is learned behaviour - people aren't born that way.
learner /ˈlɜː.nəʳ/ US /ˈlɝː.nɚ/
a person who is still learning something:
He's a quick learner.
MAINLY UK a learner driver
learning /ˈlɜː.nɪŋ/ US /ˈlɝː-/
1 the activity of obtaining knowledge:
This technique makes learning fun.
For the first month in her new job she was on a steep learning curve (= she learnt a lot quickly).
2 knowledge obtained by study:
His friends praised his generosity, wit and learning.
learns, learning, learned, learnt
(American English uses the form learned as the past tense and past participle. British English uses either learned or learnt.)
1) VERB If you learn something, you obtain knowledge or a skill through studying or training.
[V n] Their children were going to learn English...
[V to-inf] He is learning to play the piano.
[V wh] ...learning how to use new computer systems...
Experienced teachers help you learn quickly. [Also V about n]
learning N-UNCOUNT ...a bilingual approach to the learning of English.
2) VERB If you learn of something, you find out about it.
[V of n] It was only after his death that she learned of his affair with Betty...
[V that] It didn't come as a shock to learn that the fuel and cooling systems are the most common causes of breakdown...
[V wh] ...the Admiral, who, on learning who I was, wanted to meet me.
3) VERB If people learn to behave or react in a particular way, they gradually start to behave in that way as a result of a change in attitudes.
[V to-inf] You have to learn to face your problem...
[V wh-to-inf] We are learning how to confront death instead of avoiding its reality.
4) VERB If you learn from an unpleasant experience, you change the way you behave so that it does not happen again or so that, if it happens again, you can deal with it better.
[V from n] I am convinced that he has learned from his mistakes...
[V n from n] The company failed to learn any lessons from this experience.
5) VERB If you learn something such as a poem or a role in a play, you study or repeat the words so that you can remember them.
[V n] He learned this song as an inmate at a Texas prison.
6) → See also learned, learning
7) to learn something the hard way → see way
to learn the ropes → see rope