Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

learn - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

verb learn pronunciation in British English /lɜː(r)n/
Word Forms
present tense
present participlelearning
past tenselearnt or learned
past participlelearnt or learned
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. 1
    [intransitive/transitive] to gain knowledge or experience of something, for example by being taught
    a bright girl who is already learning the alphabet
    What did you learn at school today?
    research into how children learn
    We’re learning fractions in maths this week.
    1. a.
      [intransitive/transitive] to gain knowledge or a skill that makes it possible for you to do something
      I’m learning a lot of new computer skills in this job.
      learn to do something: The children are learning to swim this summer.
      learn how to do something: I want to learn how to dive.
    2. b.
      [transitive] to study something so that you remember it exactly
      Your homework is to learn the periodic table.
      learn something by heart (=exactly): It didn’t take her long to learn her lines by heart.
      learn something by rote (=without thinking about or understanding it): facts learned by rote
    3. c.
      [intransitive/transitive] to get the experience or knowledge that you need to behave or think in a particular way
      stereotypes that are learned at an early age
      Children mainly learn by copying adults.
      learn (how) to do something: You have to learn to be more patient.
  2. 2
    [intransitive/transitive] to gain new information about a situation, event, or person
    She’ll go to great lengths to keep you from learning her secrets.
    learn about/of: We didn’t learn about the situation until it was too late.
    learn (that): We were distressed to learn that American troops were the targets of the attack.
  3. 3
    [intransitive/transitive] to improve your behaviour as a result of gaining greater experience or knowledge of something
    His girlfriend’s left him again. Some people never learn, do they?


a fashion trend in which people intentionally wear ordinary, inexpensive, widely-available clothing

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


a flower or small bunch of flowers worn on the lapel of a jacket on special occasions

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog