Etymology: Middle English lernen, from Old English leornian; akin to Old High German lernēn to learn, Old English last footprint, Latin lira furrow, track
Date: before 12th century
(1) to gain knowledge or understanding of or skill in by study, instruction, or experience <learn a trade> (2) memorize <learn the lines of a play> b. to come to be able <learn to dance> c. to come to realize <learned that honesty paid> 2. a. nonstandard teach b. obsolete to inform of something 3. to come to know ; hear <we just learned that he was ill> intransitive verb to acquire knowledge or skill or a behavioral tendency Synonyms: see discover • learnable adjective • learner noun Usage: Learn in the sense of “teach” dates from the 13th century and was standard until at least the early 19th <made them drunk with true Hollands—and then learned them the art of making bargains — Washington Irving>. But by Mark Twain's time it was receding to a speech form associated chiefly with the less educated <never done nothing for three months but set in his back yard and learn that frog to jump — Mark Twain>. The present-day status of learn has not risen. This use persists in speech, but in writing it appears mainly in the representation of such speech or its deliberate imitation for effect.
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.