Main definitions of wean in English

: wean1wean2

wean1

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1 Accustom (an infant or other young mammal) to food other than its mother's milk.

    • ‘When the youngsters are fully weaned they're turned out to pasture where the growing really kicks in.’
    • ‘At 36 days young weasels are weaned and can eat food brought back to the nest by the mother.’
    • ‘Calves were weaned in early September of each year.’
    • ‘At eight weeks, he should be weaned from the mother and eating kitten food solely.’
    • ‘After the pig is weaned, these milk antibodies no longer are supplied.’
    • ‘Otter cubs are fully weaned after three to four months, but stay with their mother for up to a year, during which time they learn to fish.’
    • ‘Children are often not weaned off their mother's milk until they are toddlers.’
    • ‘A breast-feeding mother will wean her infant before returning to work.’
    • ‘She said she would probably wean the puppy in six weeks.’
    • ‘Once the babies are weaned off milk in the transit home, they are allowed to forage with older elephants instead of being fed with leaves and bark as are elephants in most other orphanages.’
    • ‘I waited until the puppies were weaned then I tied red bows around their necks, put them in a box and headed to Mrs. Rooney's home.’
    • ‘He was breast-fed and is now being weaned on a vegetarian diet of pulses, vegetables, fruits, baby rice, pasta and formula milk made from soya.’
    • ‘Domestic kittens are weaned at about 8 weeks old and become independent at about 6 months old.’
    • ‘The young are weaned from the mother at about 5 months of age.’
    • ‘There were seventeen children in all, one a very young infant not even weaned from his mother's milk, yet.’
    • ‘Most mammals extend the care of their young until they are weaned and then drive them away.’
    • ‘Sperm whale mothers wean their calves on pieces of squid.’
    • ‘Mammals produce milk for their young until they are weaned.’
    • ‘Mothers wean children early and in some cases do not breast-feed at all.’
    • ‘According to Van Putten early weaned calves will suck anything that resembles a teat.’
    • ‘The lambs in the paddock are constantly bleating at the moment, mainly for food (we're trying to wean them from milk to grass) but also for attention as we humans are their mums.’
    1. 1.1often wean someone off Accustom (someone) to managing without something which they have become dependent on:
      ‘the doctor tried to wean her off the sleeping pills’
      • ‘He said I needed to keep taking the medication for another three months, and after that we could start reducing the dosage and weaning me off them.’
      • ‘Federal spending is out of control, and our present energy policy won't wean us off Middle Eastern petroleum for years.’
      • ‘Like all sorts of dependency we need to wean people off their cars, but at the same time we cannot leave people high and dry.’
      • ‘The US government has not been able to wean its citizens off drugs and the ‘drug war’ military offensive has not stopped drugs from entering the US.’
      • ‘Jenny had to look on helplessly as her tiny son was weaned off the effects of heroin.’
      • ‘She said she felt she had no support when trying to wean people off the drug, which is used for the short-term relief of anxiety.’
      • ‘Dog training is a process that involves tasty treats, but too many of these treats can be a bad idea for your dog's waistline. Use small treats and wean your dog off treats as they understand the different commands.’
      • ‘If next week's Gleneagles summit is to transform the future of the world's poorest countries, as the Prime Minister hopes, then Washington, as well as Europe, will have to promise to wean its farmers off subsidies.’
      • ‘He was put on a three-month programme to wean him off Valium and now has won £40,000 in damages from his former GP.’
      • ‘She now faces the prospect of having to wean her young boy off a powerful drug, not knowing how he will react.’
      • ‘It will take humungous hikes in fuel tax, with punishing electoral consequences, to wean us off the impulse to escape at least once a year from lives which we've made so hectic; we have to have a holiday to restore our sanity.’
      • ‘The scheme is part of an attempt by ministers to wean young Scots off their traditional diet of chips, sugary drinks, crisps and chocolate.’
      • ‘My guess is no better than anyone else's, but I would feel a lot more comfortable and relaxed if I could be sure that someone was working on a plan that would wean us off oil gradually rather than by force of circumstance.’
      • ‘The study suggests that concerted efforts to wean people away from cars and on to buses - or better still their own two feet - have made little impact on the younger generation.’
      • ‘The way to wean people voluntarily off their cars is to be clever, and to do it in stages.’
      • ‘The patient dies 71 days later as doctors try to wean him from a ventilator.’
      • ‘Time limits, of course, are also part of the strategy to wean people from welfare, along with a properly constructed workfare system and an appropriate system of earnings supplements to families with children.’
      • ‘Through her music, this 21-year-old is trying to wean youngsters away from drugs.’
      • ‘This will involve immense hard work on his part, but will, hopefully, completely wean him off heroin and allow him to be relocated elsewhere.’
      • ‘But Calderwood saw this as a transitional phase, while he was weaning his players to his new style of play.’
      • ‘You know it makes sense, there are places and people available to help you, patches that wean you off nicotine slowly, help groups that support you through the bad times.’
    2. 1.2be weaned on Be strongly influenced by (something), especially from an early age:
      ‘I was weaned on a regular diet of Hollywood fantasy’
      • ‘Throughout the 1940s and 1950s, Carl Stalling wrote the music for the classic Warner Brothers cartoons that John Zorn was weaned on.’
      • ‘For mid-career partners who were weaned on e-mail and the Blackberry, this was no walk in the park.’
      • ‘For Americans, who have been weaned on multimedia saturation, this was tepid stuff.’
      • ‘Both his parents taught French and clearly he and his brother Jonathan were weaned on the language and the culture.’
      • ‘But I was weaned on that sort of golf and so it was right up my alley.’
      • ‘Henson was weaned on Michael Jackson videos and the early era of music video dance.’
      • ‘His topical humour will no doubt render this recording dated in a few years, but for someone who was weaned on comedy albums as a child this one hits all the marks it should.’
      • ‘They have been weaned on the Net and Google and they assume that they can simply access any information they need when they need it and that there's no reason to read books.’
      • ‘We now have a generation of kids and young adults who have been weaned on video games, Web browsing, and other new information tools.’
      • ‘A middle-class Midwesterner, he was weaned on Daniel Defoe and raised on hunting, hiking, and taxidermy.’
      • ‘It's also very hard to quit cold turkey from the computers and video games that our generation was weaned on.’
      • ‘The Montreal native was weaned on hip hop, living and breathing beats and rhymes through his teen years, a devotion that paid off when, as a 17-year-old, he was invited to join Canadian rap pioneers the Dream Warriors.’
      • ‘She knows her husband's past - she knows that he was weaned on violence and hate.’
      • ‘McLaughlin says that he can't explain why, but he often feels a need to revisit his past, and classic American songbook material was what he was weaned on as a young jazz player in the '60s.’
      • ‘Ian McAteer was weaned on the exploits of US attorney Perry Mason, a television hero of the 1960s. So he went off to study law.’
      • ‘And although the Celtic Tiger was weaned on the dynamism of private enterprise, reporting continues to focus largely on the affairs of publicly quoted companies.’
      • ‘The easy availability of alcohol means that kids and teenagers are at risk of being weaned on to alcohol at an early stage.’
      • ‘However, most of those watching will have been weaned on movies, and this sort of thing doesn't usually transpire in this way on the big screen.’
      • ‘It's a fascinating phenomenon; many of us were weaned on domestic wine but have wound-up drinking imported.’
      • ‘They're talking like stoned college kids trying to be funny at a party; they're talking as if they, like us, were weaned on television and pop culture.’

Origin

Old English wenian, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch wennen and German entwöhnen.

Pronunciation:

wean

/wiːn/

Main definitions of wean in English

: wean1wean2

wean2

noun

Northern English, Scottish
  • A young child.

    • ‘We may be coming to a situation where whole families, grandparents, parents and weans are all users.’
    • ‘I remember when each street was a wee community with events such as the annual bus run to Saltcoats for all the weans.’
    • ‘My grandfather was not a poor man but he would insist on lifting me over the turnstiles to avoid paying the full whack - the wean could always sit on his dad's knee if there were no spare seats.’
    • ‘The pukka school, which charges parents £18,750 a year to take the weans off their hands, is going through troubled times.’
    • ‘There are people who have taken a view against her because of her background, because she is a working-class woman who speaks with the accent she was born with and talks about weans instead of children.’
    • ‘‘My daughter goes to a fairly hard-core working-class school and every morning, I see guys kissing their weans, telling them how much they love them, and sending them on their way,’ says Mullan.’
    • ‘And I couldn't leave my weans for that length of time.’
    • ‘‘It's magic,’ is all the explanation weans require.’
    • ‘The weans are scrapping in the playground again.’
    • ‘Everything, including the weans, is being scrubbed mercilessly so that not a speck of dust or grime will survive into the New Year.’
    • ‘Twelve years into the new century, the traditional Scottish family of ma, pa and the wean or weans will be outnumbered by men living alone, also by women living alone, and above all by two adults without children.’
    • ‘The weans of today already call the shots, as any observer of a family outing to Safeway well knows.’
    • ‘‘It was a different matter when Jack Steedman had loads of weans going unpaid from door to door in Clydebank selling bingo tickets to raise funds,’ says Robertson.’
    • ‘Ma, Pa and the weans get health-giving milk and cheese all-year round; you get a nice wee glow of achievement on Christmas morning.’
    • ‘For example, I have never felt more a part of a ‘real community’ than when I've taken my wheezing, spluttering wean up to Yorkhill Hospital in Glasgow of a stormy evening.’
    • ‘The weans seemed happy enough.’
    youngster, young one, little one, boy, girl
    View synonyms

Origin

Late 17th century: contraction of wee ane ‘little one’.

Pronunciation:

wean

/wiːn/