learn - definition and synonyms


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present tense
present participlelearning
past tenselearnt or learned
past participlelearnt or learned
  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

      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?