General English


  • verb to remove a young animal from the milk source of its mother. Weaning is common at 5 weeks.


  • verb to make a baby stop breastfeeding and take other liquid or solid food, or to make a baby start to eat solid food after having only had liquids to drink

Origin & History of “wean”

The etymological notion underlying wean is of ‘becoming accustomed’. The specialization to ‘making accustomed to food other than mother’s milk’ is a secondary development. The word comes from a prehistoric Germanic *wanjan (source also of German gewöhnen ‘accustom’). this was derived from the adjective *wanaz ‘accustomed’, which in turn was formed from the base *wan-, *wen-, *wun-(source also of English winsome, wish, and wont ‘accustomed’ (OE)).