One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Cause (someone) to forget or discard previous knowledge.
- ‘He untaught her all that her mother tried to teach.’
- ‘I would have to have untaught myself to have learned what I have learned.’
- ‘By watching snakes, Polyidus goes on to divine a way to bring the boy back to life, teaches him his mantic art, and then, as he is leaving Crete, unteaches him by getting him to spit into his mouth.’
2Remove from the mind (something known or taught) by different teaching.
- ‘If Christ had been incarnated as a woman, these lessons would have been untaught.’
- ‘‘Much effort will be given to unteaching that which is not true,’ he wrote acerbically.’
- ‘When folly is once taught, it is very difficult to unteach it.’
- ‘The claim is that in use, The Putting Arc will quickly teach correct body movements, while at the same time ‘unteaching’ ingrained bad ones.’
- ‘The unexpected failure to find WMD, coupled with exaggerated but real post-war difficulties, have caused enough erosion of public domestic support for our efforts to ‘unteach’ the lessons of our victory.’
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