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Unlearn   Listen
verb
Unlearn  v. t.  (past & past part. unlearned; pres. part. unlearning)  
1.
To forget, as what has been learned; to lose from memory; also, to learn the contrary of. "I had learned nothing right; I had to unlearn everything."
2.
To fail to learn. (Obs.)






Collaborative International Dictionary of English 0.48








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"Unlearn" Quotes from Famous Books



... be owned withal, the Piece is crude in parts, and far enough from perfect. Our good painter has yet several things to learn, and to unlearn. His brush is not always of the finest; and dashes about, sometimes, in a recognizably sprawling way: but it hits many a feature with decisive accuracy and felicity; and on the palette, as usual, lie the richest colors. A grand merit, ...
— The Life of John Sterling • Thomas Carlyle

... to Bergson with a long process of philosophical discipline behind them. It is not surprising when we remember what he is trying to do, namely, to induce philosophical thought to run in new channels. The general reader has here an advantage over the other, inasmuch as he has less to unlearn. In the old words, unless we become as little children we cannot enter into this kingdom; though it is true that we do not remain as little children once entry is made. This is a serious difficulty for the hard-bitten philosopher who at considerable pains has formed conceptions, acquired a technique, ...
— Bergson and His Philosophy • J. Alexander Gunn

... below the Parnassian Mount. We have talked of the High Ideal, and practised and encouraged ad infinitum the Low Natural, and too often have descended to the worse, the Low Unnatural; so that, upon the whole, we have to unlearn very much before we can be said to be in the rudiments of Real Art. Let us suppose one born with every natural endowment, with imagination, and a power of imitation. The mind, after all, is fed with realities; there is in it also process of digestion, which converts the real ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 58, Number 360, October 1845 • Various

... life, proper attention is paid to these primary principles and to correct articulation, a large majority of students will graduate from our common schools prepared to advance in the art of elocution or of singing without being obliged first to unlearn a vast amount of error and to correct a long ...
— Resonance in Singing and Speaking • Thomas Fillebrown

... our bird is slowly relapsing into the habit of the European species, which always foists its egg upon other birds; or whether on the other hand it be not mending its manners in this respect. It has but little to unlearn or forget in the one case, but great progress to make in the other. How far is its rudimentary nest—a mere platform of coarse twigs and dry stalks of weeds—from the deep, compact, finely woven and finely modeled nest of the goldfinch ...
— Library of the World's Best Literature, Ancient and Modern, Vol. 7 • Various

... men learned how to establish, maintain and perpetuate community and organize society. At every stage of the building process it was necessary to check, to question, to evaluate, unlearn, tear down, make a new start. Pushing up and tearing or wearing down is implicit in nature. It is an essential aspect of ...
— Civilization and Beyond - Learning From History • Scott Nearing

... features so necessary as assistants. For amid all our disadvantages we are to a large extent arbiters of our fortunes, for we can by an indomitable will dispel many, many seeming mountains that encumber our way. But we have much to unlearn, and especially that the road to financial prosperity is not chiefly the dictum of the facile mouth, but through the manifestation of skilled hands and routine of business methods, however much the mouth may attempt to compete, conscious of its wealth of assertion and extent of capacity. While it ...
— Shadow and Light - An Autobiography with Reminiscences of the Last and Present Century • Mifflin Wistar Gibbs

... these primitive ideas which has caused surgeons and gynaecologists to dread operations during the catamenial period. Such, at all events, is the opinion of a distinguished authority, Dr. William Goodell, who wrote in 1891[372]: "I have learned to unlearn the teaching that women must not be subjected to a surgical operation during the monthly flux. Our forefathers, from time immemorial, have thought and taught that the presence of a menstruating woman would pollute solemn ...
— Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 1 (of 6) • Havelock Ellis

... plumage and pink-shod feet to match the rest of her—shouldn't be thrust into any general menagerie-cage, but be kept for the dovecote and the garden, kept where we may still hear her coo. That's what, at college, they'll make her unlearn; she'll learn to roar and snarl with the other animals. Think of the vocal sounds with which she may come back to us!" Mother appeared to think, but asked me, after a moment, as a result of it, in which of the cages of ...
— The Whole Family - A Novel by Twelve Authors • William Dean Howells, Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, Mary Heaton Vorse, Mary Stewart Cutting, Elizabeth Jo

... matters, so far as the commander was concerned; official dignity forbade any further interest. But it was not so very long since Mr. White was senior midshipman, and it takes a man until he is admiral of the fleet to unlearn all he knew then and forget ...
— Told in the East • Talbot Mundy

... puzzled, comparing results and drawing deductions, she presently began to understand a good deal more than she had bargained for, was considerably shocked and disgusted, and perhaps felt desirous to unlearn what she had learned. ...
— Bressant • Julian Hawthorne

... word of mouth, and their often mistaken impressions of many simple things are partly caused by the erroneous expressions and descriptions which they have heard or read. It takes the first several years of a residence in India to gradually unlearn the things which have been wrongly learnt. The stray visitor does not stay long enough to get his view straightened out, and when he returns to write his book about India he ...
— India and the Indians • Edward F. Elwin

... work we must make haste slowly. We have some things to unlearn and many things to learn. We hope to be able in a few years to make a worthwhile contribution to such an interesting and important subject as nut growing in the ...
— Northern Nut Growers Association Report of the Proceedings at the Fifteenth Annual Meeting • Various

... not set a due value on the imperishable and inestimable principles of human liberty." With strong religious tendencies and convictions, he contemplated taking orders in the Church; but his father saw things differently,—and thus, with academic prejudices which most graduates have to unlearn, he went abroad in 1832 to complete the education of an English gentleman, spending most of his time in Italy and Sicily, those eternally interesting countries to the scholar and the artist, whose wonders can scarcely be exaggerated,—affording ...
— Beacon Lights of History, Volume X • John Lord

... regal purple dress'd: For different styles with different subjects sort, As several garbs with country, town, and court. Some by old words to fame have made pretence, Ancients in phrase, mere moderns in their sense; Such labour'd nothings, in so strange a style, Amaze the unlearn'd, and make the learned smile. Unlucky, as Fungoso[15] in the play, These sparks with awkward vanity display What the fine gentleman wore yesterday; 330 And but so mimic ancient wits at best, As apes our grandsires, in their doublets dress'd. In words, as fashions, ...
— The Poetical Works Of Alexander Pope, Vol. 1 • Alexander Pope et al

... of time. Alas! In grief I am not all unlearn'd; Once thro' mine own doors Death did pass; [3] One went, ...
— The Early Poems of Alfred Lord Tennyson • Tennyson

... week. New men learn much more readily than those who have become habituated to certain methods or tasks; not having had time or opportunity to experi- ment and learn wrong methods, they have nothing to unlearn in acquiring the right. They fall into line at once and adopt the stride and the manner of ...
— Increasing Efficiency In Business • Walter Dill Scott

... and their laws and way of living Shall all be Greek. They shall unlearn their language, And learn the lovely speech of Antioch. Where hast thou been to-day? Thou ...
— The Complete Poetical Works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

... among the mountains above. At the same time every beginner should be content to devote two or three of his first days to the Nursery slopes, learning the elements of good Ski-ing before dashing off on an excursion. As I know from painful experience, there is much to unlearn in what one has picked up by the light of Nature. Scrambling down a run, crashing and sitting on one's Skis, may be great fun the first day, but is tiring and humiliating as time goes on. It is infinitely preferable ...
— Ski-running • Katharine Symonds Furse

... would have been necessary to the conquest of it! To this is to be added, that when virtue is become habitual, when the temper of it is acquired, what was before confinement ceases to be so by becoming choice and delight. Whatever restraint and guard upon ourselves may be needful to unlearn any unnatural distortion or odd gesture, yet in all propriety of speech, natural behaviour must be the most easy and unrestrained. It is manifest that, in the common course of life, there is seldom any inconsistency between ...
— Human Nature - and Other Sermons • Joseph Butler

... hard to unlearn a thing as to learn it," said Kelly sententiously. "You can't make a man who has learned to wear shoes enjoy going around ...
— The Nature Faker • Richard Harding Davis

... schools—one for boys, one for girls, and one for infants—were erected about six years ago, and are still maintained at the expense of the Messrs Vivian. At the time of our visit, there were 600 of the rising population of the place doing their utmost to unlearn the Welsh idiom, and to acquire the art of speaking and writing the English language with propriety. We regret that we cannot dwell on this the most gratifying circumstance of our visit. Messrs Vivian & Sons are unquestionably great copper-smelters, but, in our humble opinion, the greatest ...
— Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, No. 458 - Volume 18, New Series, October 9, 1852 • Various

... almonds for wings, comic little pigs with cloves in their eyes - for all of which my affection and my liver duly acknowledged receipt in full. She taught me more provincial pronunciation and bad grammar than ever I could unlearn. She was very intelligent, and radiant with good humour. One peculiarity especially took my fancy - the yellow bandana in which she enveloped her head. I was always wondering whether she was born without hair - there was none to ...
— Tracks of a Rolling Stone • Henry J. Coke

... greenness can be presented before the mind of a prospective employer as the best of reasons for engaging you. You will be able to make yourself appear desirable because you are green in that field, and therefore have no wrong ideas to "unlearn." ...
— Certain Success • Norval A. Hawkins

... the skies were mine, and so were the sun and moon and stars, and all the world was mine: and I the only spectator and enjoyer of it.... So that with much ado I was corrupted and made to learn the dirty devices of this world, which I now unlearn, and become, as it were, a little child again that I may enter into the Kingdom ...
— The Child Under Eight • E.R. Murray and Henrietta Brown Smith

... resources, and a subtler instinct as to its employment. The intrinsic musical interest of 'Der Fliegende Hollaender' is unequal. Wagner had made great strides since the days of 'Rienzi,' but he had still a vast amount to unlearn. Side by side with passages of vital force and persuasive beauty there are dreary wastes of commonplace and the most arid conventionality. The strange mixture of styles which prevails in 'Der Fliegende Hollaender' makes it in some ways even ...
— The Opera - A Sketch of the Development of Opera. With full Descriptions - of all Works in the Modern Repertory • R.A. Streatfeild

... in possession of the supreme ducal authority but a few weeks, not long enough to unlearn the tone of command and the quick power of decision which had distinguished him as ambassador, when he had been chosen with the unanimous approval of this august assembly, to conciliate the court of Rome in the hour of the Republic's great emergency. His presence of mind returned to him; the ...
— A Golden Book of Venice • Mrs. Lawrence Turnbull

... I am adaptable to your methods, instead of being set in ways that might differ from yours. True, I am not experienced. Therefore, I haven't any wrong ideas to unlearn. Think of me as raw material that won't have to be re-made, and that can be easily shaped as you want to form it. I realize it will take some work on your part, but the product will be satisfactory to you when it is done. It seems to me that the only question ...
— Certain Success • Norval A. Hawkins

... the "curled son of Clinias," an accomplished young man, but what would be called a "swell" in these days. There was Aristoteles, a very distinguished writer, of whom you have heard,—a philosopher, in short, whom it took centuries to learn, centuries to unlearn, and is now going to take a generation or more to learn over again. Regular dandy, he was. So was Marcus Antonius; and though he lost his game, he played for big stakes, and it wasn't his dandyism that spoiled his chance. Petrarca was ...
— The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (The Physician and Poet not the Jurist)

... rekindled or brought into the circle of her trance ideas. Generally she names all her friends anew; often her tone of voice is a little altered; sometimes she introduces with particular combinations of letters some odd inflection, which she maintains rigorously and cannot unlearn. ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 61, No. 379, May, 1847 • Various

... as well as the sages, must learn to forget. If it neither learns the new nor forgets the old, it is fated, even if it has been royal for thirty generations. To unlearn is to learn; and also it is sometimes needful to learn again the forgotten. The antics of fools make the current follies more palpable, as fashions are shown to be absurd by caricatures, which so lead to their extirpation. The buffoon and the zany are useful in their places. The ingenious artificer ...
— Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry • Albert Pike

... gain'd fame Which all men paid, because he did not claim. When the grim war was placed in dread array, Fierce as the lion roaring for his prey, Or lioness of royal whelps foredone; In peace, as mild as the departing sun, A general blessing wheresoe'er he turn'd, Patron of learning, nor himself unlearn'd; 250 Ever awake at Pity's tender call, A father of the poor, a friend to all; Recall such times, and from the grave bring back A worth like this, my heart shall bend, or crack, My stubborn pride give way, my ...
— Poetical Works • Charles Churchill

... railways for strategic and fiscal reasons but incidentally created a unified internal market which made mass-production of articles of common consumption profitable for the first time. But, even after Russian capitalism was thus enabled to stand on its own feet, it did not unlearn the habit of leaning on the government for advancement rather than relying on its own efforts. On its part the autocratic government was loath to let industry alone. The government generously dispensed to the capitalists tariff protection and bounties in the form of profitable orders, but ...
— A History of Trade Unionism in the United States • Selig Perlman

... truth of the "world as it is" must be the ultimate inspiration of art, poetry, and religion. The world as men have agreed to say it is, is quite another matter. The less our children hear of this, the less they will have to unlearn ...
— The Story of the Innumerable Company, and Other Sketches • David Starr Jordan

... purposes these differences are unimportant, but to the painter they are all-important: the painter has to unlearn the habit of thinking that things seem to have the colour which common sense says they 'really' have, and to learn the habit of seeing things as they appear. Here we have already the beginning of one of the distinctions that cause most trouble in philosophy—the distinction between ...
— The Problems of Philosophy • Bertrand Russell

... come about so subtilely and gradually that she was almost unaware of it herself, this inward change in herself. Nora had by nature a quick and active mind, but she had also many inherited prejudices. It is a truism that it is much harder to unlearn than to learn, and for her it was harder, in the circumstances, than for the average person. Not that she was more set in her ways than other people, but that she had accepted from her childhood a definite set of ideas as to the proper conduct of life; a code, in other words, ...
— The Land of Promise • D. Torbett

... furiously attacking his old opponents. This so exasperated the chief men of the Court, that they persuaded the Duke to recall Frischlin; but instead of finding a welcome from his old patron, he was cast into prison, in order that he might unlearn his presumption, and acquire the useful knowledge that modesty is the chief ornament of a learned man. But Frischlin did not ...
— Books Fatal to Their Authors • P. H. Ditchfield

... about, and beheld the Puny Fox beside him, who took up the word and spoke, smiling as a man in great glee: "O maiden of the Rose, I am Hallblithe's thrall, and his scholar, to unlearn the craft of lying, whereby I have done amiss towards both him and thee. Whereof I will tell thee all the tale soon. But now I will say that it is true that we depart to-morrow for Cleveland by the Sea, thou and he, and I in company. Now I would ...
— The Story of the Glittering Plain - or the Land of Living Men • William Morris

... express that opinion. On this he said, with a tenderness and humility not only most touching, but to me most embarrassing, that "It might be so; what was he to judge of other men; he was old, and things were now looked at very differently; that he knew he had many things to unlearn and learn afresh; and that I must not mind what he had said, for that in truth belief in the heroes of his youth had become part of him." I am afraid these are my words, and not his; and I cannot ...
— Occasional Papers - Selected from The Guardian, The Times, and The Saturday Review, - 1846-1890 • R.W. Church

... defined by some lexicographer as a "cooking animal." I think it would be more appropriate to call him a learning animal, for man does not always cook, but he never ceases to learn—also to unlearn. ...
— Shifting Winds - A Tough Yarn • R.M. Ballantyne

... well-delivered speech. Now, the fault was not because Mr. Greeley did not know how to read as well as almost any man that ever lived, if not quite: but in his youth he learned to read wrong; and, as it is ten times harder to unlearn anything than it is to learn it, he, like thousands of others, could never stop to unlearn it, but carried it on through ...
— Baddeck and That Sort of Thing • Charles Dudley Warner

... them—I suppose about two out of six-and-twenty. It's particular attention that's been paid to your education, I perceive; you've nothing to unlearn anyhow, that's something. Now, sir, do you think that a classical scholar and a gentleman born, like me, is to demane myself by hearing you puzzle at the alphabet? You're quite mistaken, Mr Keene, you must gain your first elements second-hand; so where's ...
— Percival Keene • Frederick Marryat

... not realized. As a beginner, her first steps were necessarily slow; but she took pains, and had no bad habits or evil accents to unlearn, and after a while she "got hold" of the language and went on more rapidly. Marian's fluent chatter stimulated her to try to talk as fast also, though Mademoiselle Bougereau, their teacher, found a great deal of fault with Marian, and said ...
— A Little Country Girl • Susan Coolidge

... the course of moral life takes a higher turn; that in proportion as men are true to themselves and the powers of their own being, they ascend in the scale of moral perfection. We think that to teach a man to look without him for assistance is to cripple half his powers, to make him unlearn the grand gospel of self-reliance, to loosen the fibres of his moral being, and thereby to check his ...
— Morality as a Religion - An exposition of some first principles • W. R. Washington Sullivan

... fear is that this double training, in language as well as in thought, imposes somewhat too heavy a burden upon the young, especially when, at the age of three years old, they are taken from the maternal care and taught to unlearn the old language—except for the purpose of repeating it in the presence of the Mothers and Nurses—and to learn the vocabulary and idiom of science. Already methinks I discern a weakness in the ...
— Flatland • Edwin A. Abbott

... and the truest in their influence, are works of fiction. They do not pin the reader to a dogma, which he must afterwards discover to be inexact; they do not teach a lesson, which he must afterwards unlearn. They repeat, they rearrange, they clarify the lessons of life; they disengage us from ourselves, they constrain us to the acquaintance of others; and they show us the web of experience, not as we ...
— The Pocket R.L.S. - Being Favourite Passages from the Works of Stevenson • Robert Louis Stevenson

... facility in transacting business rapidly. But a great number of persons are now bred from their earliest manhood in the very midst of that routine; they learn it as they would learn a language, and come to be no more able to unlearn it than they could unlearn a language. And the able ones among them acquire an almost magical rapidity in effecting the business connected with that routine. A very good manager and very good board of directors can, without unreasonable ...
— Lombard Street: A Description of the Money Market • Walter Bagehot

... and silently watch me? Or do you bring me some reasons to prove, that it will not be base and unworthy for Cato, when he can find his safety no other way, to seek it from his enemy? If so, adduce your arguments, and show cause why we should now unlearn what we formerly were taught, in order that rejecting all the convictions in which we lived, we may now by Caesar's help grow wiser, and be yet more obliged to him, than for life only. Not that I have determined aught concerning myself, ...
— Plutarch's Lives • A.H. Clough

... premisses, Macaulay proceeds to his inevitable conclusion. 'He who, in an enlightened and literary society, aspires to be a great poet must,' he says, 'first become a little child. He must take to pieces the whole web of his mind. He must unlearn much of that knowledge which has perhaps constituted hitherto his chief title to superiority. His very talents will be a hindrance to him. His difficulties will be proportioned to his proficiency in the pursuits which are fashionable ...
— Mushrooms on the Moor • Frank Boreham

... dimness opposite equals advance, always substance and increase, always sex, Always a knit of identity, always distinction, always a breed of life. To elaborate is no avail, learn'd and unlearn'd feel ...
— Leaves of Grass • Walt Whitman

... of an English clergyman by the name of Penrose, and she wrote English history as such a person might be supposed to write it. With every intention to be honest, her book has many facts and opinions which boys and girls will have to take more time to unlearn than they spent in learning, unless they intend to ...
— Graham's Magazine Vol XXXIII No. 3 September 1848 • Various

... came here to learn and not to unlearn. You will kindly allow me to tell you that the pronunciation of that word 'scevra' with a v, and not 'sceura' with a u, because it ...
— The Memoires of Casanova, Complete • Jacques Casanova de Seingalt

... acknowledged I was but little aware how much I had to learn, and unlearn, or of the opposition I should meet from my own prejudices, as well as from those of the world. But dangers never imagined are never feared, and my leading characteristic was the most sanguine hope. Were all the dangers of life to present themselves ...
— The Adventures of Hugh Trevor • Thomas Holcroft

... midst of this Floyd Grandon arrives. Cecil captures him in wildest delight. Violet is glad to meet him first before all these people; alas for love when it longs for no secrecy! She colors and a sweet light glows in her face, she cannot unlearn her lesson all at once. Then she is quiet, lady-like, composed. Floyd watches her with a curious sensation. It is a new air of being ...
— Floyd Grandon's Honor • Amanda Minnie Douglas

... Making war after our own fashion, we have the expertness and coolness of veterans. Making war in any other way, we shall be raw and awkward recruits. To turn us into soldiers like those of Cromwell and Turenne would be the business of years: and we have not even weeks to spare. We have time enough to unlearn our own discipline, but not time enough to learn yours." Dundee, with high compliments to Lochiel, declared himself convinced, and perhaps was convinced: for the reasonings of the wise old chief were by no means without ...
— The History of England from the Accession of James II. - Volume 3 (of 5) • Thomas Babington Macaulay

... must be one of the devout kind. He was sorry. He believed they were a narrow and prejudiced sort of people, given to laying down the law and erecting barricades across other people's paths. He was sorry this fair girl was one of them. But she was a lovely specimen. Could she unlearn these ways, perhaps? But now, what was she going to bring forth to him out of the Bible? He watched the fingers that turned the leaves; pretty fingers enough, and delicate, but not very white. Gardening probably ...
— Nobody • Susan Warner

... medieval monk, which has banished, say, consecutive fifths from what is called g pure writing '; that further, you need only to have the regulation number of years behind you, to fling squeamishness to the winds. In other words, you learn rules to unlearn them with infinite pains. But the pupil, in his innocence, demands a rigid basis to go on—it is a human weakness, this, the craving for rules—and his teachers pamper him. Instead of saying: develop your own ear, rely on yourself, ...
— Maurice Guest • Henry Handel Richardson

... The time has been, I've studied love-lays in the English tongue, And been enamour'd of rare poesy: Which now I must unlearn. Henceforth, Sweet mother-tongue, old English speech, adieu; For Margaret has got new ...
— The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb IV - Poems and Plays • Charles and Mary Lamb

... correct and accurate as far as they go. Many of them are necessarily incomplete, on account of the elementary character of the work; but it is hoped that this incompleteness has never been allowed to become untruth, and that the pupil will not afterwards have to unlearn anything the book ...
— Elements of Structural and Systematic Botany - For High Schools and Elementary College Courses • Douglas Houghton Campbell

... Pope is speaking,—not always as orators speak, it is true, but gravely, at least, and with that indefinable air of dignity which the habit of command seldom fails to impart. The language is sonorous, and if you have had the good sense to unlearn your barbarous application of English sounds—cunningly devised by Nature herself to keep damp fogs and cold winds out of the mouth—to Italian vowels, which the same judicious mother framed with equal cunning ...
— Atlantic Monthly,Volume 14, No. 82, August, 1864 - A Magazine Of Literature, Art, And Politics • Various

... what I think, my dear,' said Lady Kenton, greatly touched. 'You have nothing to unlearn, and there is nothing needful to the position but what any person of moderate ability and good sense can acquire, and I am quite sure that Lord Northmoor would be far less happy without you, even in the long-run, besides the distress you would cause him now. It is ...
— That Stick • Charlotte M. Yonge

... like too much, You do like what, if given you at your word, You find abundantly detestable. For me, I think I speak as I was taught; I always see the garden and God there A-making man's wife: and, my lesson learned, The value and significance of flesh, I can't unlearn ten ...
— Men and Women • Robert Browning

... and rejoicing over what has been done. For, after all, the truth is, that Scottish Archaeology is still so much in its infancy, that it is only now beginning to guess its powers, and feel its deficiencies. It has still no end of lessons to learn, and perhaps some to unlearn, before it can manage to extract the true metal of knowledge from the ore and dross of exaggeration in which many of its inquiries have become enveloped. At this present hour we virtually know far less of the Archaeology and history of Scotland ten or fifteen ...
— Archaeological Essays, Vol. 1 • James Y. Simpson

... door, pretty enough in their dusty rags, with their fine eyes and intense Italian smile, to make you forget your private vow of doing your individual best I to make these people, whom you like so much, unlearn their old vices. Was Porta Pia bombarded three years ago that Peppino should still grow up to whine for a copper? But the Italian shells had no direct message for Peppino's stomach—and you are going to a dinner-party at a villa. So Peppino "points" ...
— Italian Hours • Henry James

... he; "though you'll have to unlearn that name, my young whipstercock, seein' we're here to stay for a while. The Earl marched down into Fowey last night while you were asleep, and is down there now making it right and tight. Do you ever play at blind-man's buff ...
— The Laird's Luck • Arthur Quiller-Couch

... these sad numbers, too sad to upraise In hymning bright Sylvia, unlearn'd in such ways! Our mournful moods lay we away, And prank our thoughts in holiday, For syllabling to Sylvia; When all the birds on branches lave their mouths with May, To bear with us this ...
— Sister Songs • Francis Thompson

... lack the special savour Of the product of the churn, Still the difference in flavour I'm beginning to unlearn. ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 153, Dec. 5, 1917 • Various

... slowly relapsing into the habit of the European species, which always foists its egg upon other birds; or whether, on the other hand, it is not mending its manners in this respect. It has but little to unlearn or to forget in the one case, but great progress to make in the other. How far is its rudimentary nest—a mere platform of coarse twigs and dry stalks of weeds—from the deep, compact, finely woven and ...
— Locusts and Wild Honey • John Burroughs

... rather as though the world, whatever it shall unlearn, must rightly learn to confess the passing and irrevocable hour; not slighting it, or bidding it hasten its work, not yet hailing it, with Faust, "Stay, thou art so fair!" Childhood is but change made gay and visible, and the world has ...
— Essays • Alice Meynell

... the reason being that he has only to modify the action of neuro-muscular mechanisms, not associate new mechanisms together to the same extent as in the formation of a habit of a widely different kind, as rowing a boat. At the same time, one must always unlearn something—break up old habits, to some extent. An opera singer often makes a failure of oratorio at first. The sets of reflexes or the habits, bodily and mental, which he has found valuable for the one form of art do not suit ...
— Voice Production in Singing and Speaking - Based on Scientific Principles (Fourth Edition, Revised and Enlarged) • Wesley Mills

... a great lot to tell," Benton responded. "I'm just beginning to get on my feet. A raw, untried youngster has a lot to learn and unlearn when he hits this tall timber. I've been out here five years, and I'm just beginning to realize what I'm equal to and what I'm not. I'm crawling over a hump now that would have been a lot easier if the governor hadn't come to grief the way ...
— Big Timber - A Story of the Northwest • Bertrand W. Sinclair

... written] by etymologies. Nay, he convinced me that the Greeks had totally mistaken all they went to learn in Egypt, etc. by doing, as the French do still, judge wrong by the ear—but as I have been trying now and then for above forty years to learn something, I have not time to unlearn it all again, though I allow this our best sort of knowledge. If I should die when I am not clear in the History of the World below its first three thousand years, I should be at a sad loss on meeting with Homer and Hesiod, or any of those moderns in the Elysian fields, ...
— Letters of Horace Walpole, V4 • Horace Walpole

... the true End of visiting Foreign Parts, is to look into their Customs and Policies, and observe in what Particulars they excel or come short of our own; to unlearn some odd Peculiarities in our Manners, and wear off such awkward Stiffnesses and Affectations in our Behaviour, as may possibly have been contracted from constantly associating with one Nation of Men, by a more free, general, and ...
— The Spectator, Volumes 1, 2 and 3 - With Translations and Index for the Series • Joseph Addison and Richard Steele

... counting afresh.' So you, since this is your mind, had better reconcile yourself now to living like an ordinary man; you will give up your extravagant haughty hopes and put yourself on a level with the commonalty; if you are sensible, you will not be ashamed to unlearn in your old age, and change your course for ...
— Works, V2 • Lucian of Samosata

... must unlearn you a little of your kindness. You are mine, now, darling; and I want all of ...
— The Old Helmet, Volume I • Susan Warner

... effeminacy, or nursed with tender care, have been made to contend with the savage. By imitating his arts, they have learned, like him, to traverse the forest; and, in every season, to subsist in the desert. They have, perhaps, recovered a lesson, which it has cost civilized nations many ages to unlearn, that the fortune of a man is entire while he remains possessed ...
— An Essay on the History of Civil Society, Eighth Edition • Adam Ferguson, L.L.D.

... think how you have been let to get like it! Every Monday morning I shall come down and examine these books. So don't think that because there is nobody paying any attention to you, that you are free to unlearn everything you ever learned, and go back till you are not fit for Standard Three. I shall examine all ...
— The Rainbow • D. H. (David Herbert) Lawrence

... quoth he, 'I must e'en unlearn some of the tricks of my trade. Od's feet, man, if ye object to me, what the henker would ye think of some whom I have known? However, let that pass. It is time that we were at the wars, for our good swords will not bide in ...
— Micah Clarke - His Statement as made to his three Grandchildren Joseph, - Gervas and Reuben During the Hard Winter of 1734 • Arthur Conan Doyle

... they must unlearn certain things the schools had taught them: preoccupation with the relative merits of Gothic and Classic—tweedledum and tweedledee. Furthermore, they must learn certain neglected lessons from the engineer, ...
— Architecture and Democracy • Claude Fayette Bragdon

... mind? Can solitude be lifted up, vacuity refined? Calling, calling from the shadows in the rear of my Advance— From the Region of Unprogress in the Dark Domain of Chance— Long I heard the Unevolvable beseeching my return To share the degradation he's reluctant to unlearn. But I fancy I detected—though I pray it wasn't that— A low reverberation, like an echo in a hat. So I've held my way regardless, evoluting year by year, Till I'm what you now behold me—or would if you were here— A condensed Emancipation and a Purifier proud An Independent Entity ...
— Shapes of Clay • Ambrose Bierce

... the life he did, confounds me. Oh, my lord, I am in darkness, and no broad blaze comes down to flood me. The rays that come to me are but faint cross lights, mazing the obscurity wherein I live. And after all, excellent as it is, I can be no gainer by this book. For the more we learn, the more we unlearn; we accumulate not, but substitute; and take away, more than we add. We dwindle while we grow; we sally out for wisdom, and retreat beyond the point whence we started; we essay the Fondiza, and get but the ...
— Mardi: and A Voyage Thither, Vol. II (of 2) • Herman Melville

... text. He carried the book to a painter in the city. This painter, bad as he was, was struck with the original grace of certain of Watteau's figures, and solicited the honor of being his master. In the studio of this worthy man, Watteau did not unlearn all that he had acquired, although he painted for pedlers, male and female saints by the dozen. From this studio he passed to another, which was more profane and more to his taste. Mythology was the great book of the place. Instead of St. Peter, with his eternal keys, or the Magdalen, with her ...
— The International Monthly, Volume 5, No. 3, March, 1852 • Various

... used to rail at that building! They wanted him to play there once, you know, at some big benefit. He always said no respectable human voice could be judged there—it seems the acoustics is wrong. But it is an exceptionally fine voice, nevertheless, and so pure and unspoiled. She had nothing to unlearn, literally, and her acting, Madame says, is superb. She can memorise anything, and in such ...
— Margarita's Soul - The Romantic Recollections of a Man of Fifty • Ingraham Lovell

... age,—though no woman, I hope, was ever the worse for my harmless lovemaking. But Thelma is different from most women,—she has a strange nature,—moreover, she has a heart and a memory,—if she once learns the meaning of love, she will never unlearn the lesson. Now, I thought, that like most young men of your type, you might, without meaning any actual evil, trifle ...
— Thelma • Marie Corelli

... liberalism; therefore a bureaucratic government at once opposes it, and encourages to the utmost the introduction of new inhabitants in the provincial communes. Instead of allowing the peasants to manage their own affairs, and, if they happen to believe that five and four make eleven, to unlearn the prejudice by their own experience in calculation, so that they may gradually understand processes, and not merely see results, bureaucracy comes with its "Ready Reckoner" and works all the peasant's sums for him—the surest way of maintaining him ...
— The Essays of "George Eliot" - Complete • George Eliot

... of true piety. She seems never to have known what it was to be repelled by a sense of weakness or unworthiness in another, or to have had any of those dislikes and distastes and unchristian aversions which keep so many of us apart. She had no need to "unlearn contempt." This was partly the result of natural temperament, but not all. Such love is a Christian grace. He that "hath" it, has it because he "dwelleth in God and God in him." It is the charity which Paul inculcated; that which "thinketh no evil," which "hopeth" and "believeth all things." ...
— Mrs Whittelsey's Magazine for Mothers and Daughters - Volume 3 • Various

... bullet making an ugly swish in the air just above our heads. It was that Chinese hip-shot which is practised with jingal and matchlock in the native hunting, and which these Northern Chinese can with difficulty unlearn. As that swish reached us we pressed forward even more eagerly, and soon had debouched once more on the long Customs Street—this time many hundreds of yards higher up than we had ever been before. Flattening ...
— Indiscreet Letters From Peking • B. L. Putman Weale

... that nations can learn and unlearn a language. The Irish, adopting the language of their English conquerors, is one of many examples of the same sort in history. What effects upon language took place, prior to recorded history, from the mingling of tribes and peoples, it is impossible to ascertain. ...
— Outline of Universal History • George Park Fisher

... a flatterer, and, having been the intimate friend of the Prince of Orange at a time when the interval between the House of Orange and the House of Bentinck was not so wide as it afterwards became, had acquired a habit of plain speaking which he could not unlearn when the comrade of his youth had become the sovereign of three kingdoms. He was a most trusty, but not a very respectful, subject. There was nothing which he was not ready to do or suffer for William. But in his intercourse with William ...
— The History of England from the Accession of James II. - Volume 5 (of 5) • Thomas Babington Macaulay

... a character that will serve you all your life." As habit strengthens with age, and character becomes formed, any turning into a new path becomes more and more difficult. Hence, it is often harder to unlearn than to learn; and for this reason the Grecian flute-player was justified who charged double fees to those pupils who had been taught by an inferior master. To uproot an old habit is sometimes a more painful ...
— Self Help • Samuel Smiles

... being made to Christianize the Australian blacks. It seems to prosper if the blacks can be kept away from the debasing influence of bad whites. They have no serious vices of their own, very little to unlearn, and are docile enough. In some cases black children educated at the mission schools are turning out very well. But, on the other hand, there are many instances of these children conforming to the habits of civilization for some years and ...
— Peeps At Many Lands: Australia • Frank Fox

... assist the torturers, and if the facts were not so well attested, they, too, would pass belief. But we know they are not fictions; they were actualities. To push them out of recollection into forgetfulness is to unlearn one of the chief lessons that History can teach us—the lesson of warning. The atrocities of biological experimentation can no more be dismissed with a shrug of incredulity than one can sneer at the agonies of Gerard or Damiens because ...
— An Ethical Problem - Or, Sidelights upon Scientific Experimentation on Man and Animals • Albert Leffingwell

... we had fairly recovered our composure, and bad leisurely excogitated the matter, we might have come to conclude that the new doctrine was better than the old one, after all, at least for those who had nothing to unlearn. ...
— Evolution and Ethics and Other Essays • Thomas H. Huxley

... her to come near them,' said Arthur. 'Though, after all, they are better than you suppose. She has nothing to unlearn, and will pick up ...
— Heartsease - or Brother's Wife • Charlotte M. Yonge

... the inelegant sound-hole, the harsh outline, and uncouth scroll. As experience ripened his understanding, he may have felt that these characteristics of the German School were not such as could be moulded with advantage by an artist, whatever his talent might be, and resolved to do his best to unlearn much that he had acquired. In order to do so with any chance of success, but one course was open to him—that of studying the works of the Italian masters. It has been stated that he went to Italy when very young. With this view I do not ...
— The Violin - Its Famous Makers and Their Imitators • George Hart

... saved, to the simple, bare, lowly faith which liberates God's power, and He can use them mightily all along, but they are very few. Practically in most cases there is time involved, because we take so long to unlearn our own sufficiency and our own resources, and even after we have received the promise of the Spirit through faith, we are puzzled, it may be, by a want of ...
— Parables of the Christ-life • I. Lilias Trotter

... trained to express what he wants to express, and then let him be made to feel something of what verse means by being verse. Let him, by all means, study one of Mr. Yeats' readings, interpreted to him by means of notes; it will teach him to unlearn something and to learn something more. But then let him forget his notes and Mr. Yeats' method, if he is to make verse ...
— Plays, Acting and Music - A Book Of Theory • Arthur Symons

... never saw a compound microscope during my years of study in Paris. Individuals had begun to use the instrument, but I never heard it alluded to by either Professors or students. In descriptive anatomy I have found little to unlearn, and not a great deal that was both new and important to learn. Trifling additions are made from year to year, not to be despised and not to be overvalued. Some of the older anatomical works are still admirable, ...
— Medical Essays • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

... American has always seen the connection of public order and public prosperity, intimately united as they are, go on before his eyes; he does not conceive that one can subsist without the other; he has therefore nothing to forget; nor has he, like so many Europeans, to unlearn the lessons ...
— Democracy In America, Volume 1 (of 2) • Alexis de Tocqueville

... in th' shack," replied Mr. Cassidy. "Cayuses know so much that it takes a month to unlearn them. I wouldn't like to bet they ain't in ...
— Hopalong Cassidy's Rustler Round-Up - Bar-20 • Clarence Edward Mulford

... not learn that at school, nor at school was it possible he should unlearn it. He acquired that belief from his home, from the conversation of his equals, from the behaviour of his inferiors; he found it in the books and newspapers he has read, he breathed it in with his native air. He regards it as manifest Fact in the life about him. And he is perfectly ...
— Mankind in the Making • H. G. Wells

... you look upon the jaw-bone of a donkey as not a good weapon, say so. Give a child a chance. If you think a man never went to sea in a fish, tell them so, it won't make them any worse. Be honest—that is all; don't cram their heads with things that will take them years and years to unlearn; tell them facts—it is just as easy. It is as easy to find out botany, and astronomy, and geology, and history—it is as easy to find out all these things as to cram their minds with things you know nothing about,* and where a child knows what the name of a flower ...
— Lectures of Col. R. G. Ingersoll - Latest • Robert Green Ingersoll

... unlearn your present opinion of him. Yes; everything that was ever valuable from him is more precious than ever now,—now that he is under a spell, and cannot speak his soul. If it were, as you think, if he loved me no longer, they would be still more precious, as a ...
— Deerbrook • Harriet Martineau

... had yet to unlearn Captain Clubbe's unconscious teaching that a man's feelings are his own concern and no other has any interest or right to share in them, except one woman, and even she must guess the ...
— The Last Hope • Henry Seton Merriman

... over their lives, and they had drifted farther apart again. He himself had gone out into the world something of a scholar and something of a pedant, and he had found that all his ideas of life had lain rusting in his country home, and that he had almost as much to unlearn as to learn. With ample means, and an eager thirst for knowledge, he had passed from one to another of the great seats of learning of the world. But his lesson was not taught him at one of them. He learned it ...
— The New Tenant • E. Phillips Oppenheim

... brutes. We should, therefore, endeavor to turn this peculiar talent to our advantage, and consider the organs of speech as the instruments of understanding; we should be very careful not to use them as the weapons of vice, or tools of folly, and do our utmost to unlearn any trivial or ridiculous habits, which tend to lessen the value of such an inestimable prerogative. It is, indeed, imagined by some philosophers, that even birds and beasts (tho without the power of articulation) perfectly understand one another by the sounds ...
— Talks on Talking • Grenville Kleiser

... diminishes instead of increasing the power that our pupils should possess over their native language. By getting marks at school and college for construing good Greek and Latin into bad English, our pupils systematically unlearn what they may have been allowed to pick up from Milton ...
— How to Write Clearly - Rules and Exercises on English Composition • Edwin A. Abbott

... Lochiel urged so many and such weighty reasons against it that he gave up the plan. "There is not time," said the sagacious old chief, "for our men to learn your method of warfare. They would merely unlearn their own. This is one which must seem strange to your notions of war; but it is one which they thoroughly understand, and which makes them, when led by such a general as you, a match for the most practised veterans. Think of what they did under Montrose, and be sure ...
— Claverhouse • Mowbray Morris

... views of art, and have, by a fascinating practice, acquired an inordinate love for its minor beauties. It is true their tendency is to teach, to cultivate: but in art there is too often as much to unlearn as to learn, and the unlearning is the more irksome task; prejudice, self-gratulation, have removed the humility which is the first step in the ladder of advancement. With the public at large, the Discourses have done more; and rather by the ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Vol. 53, No. 331, May, 1843 • Various

... not be crying; if you choose you may be just as the same as any other lady—and you shall; and you will be very much admired, I can tell you, if only you will take the trouble to quite unlearn all your odd words and ways, and dress yourself like other people; and I will take care of that if you let me; and I think you are very clever, Milly; and I ...
— Uncle Silas - A Tale of Bartram-Haugh • J.S. Le Fanu

... husband was a house-paperer in a small way, and when he was out of employment she used to go out in the evening and see what her singing would bring her. Poor thing! it was impossible to do anything for her; she was too old to learn or unlearn anything. No training could have corrected the low cockney vulgarity and coarse, ignorant indistinctness and incorrectness of her enunciation. And so in after years, as I returned repeatedly to England, after longer or shorter intervals of time, and always inhabited the same ...
— Records of a Girlhood • Frances Anne Kemble

... Christianity as an historical fact, on Christ and His disciples as historical characters, on the Old and New Testaments as real historical books. Though we did not understand as yet the deeper meaning of Christ and of His words, we had at least nothing to unlearn in later times, or to feel that our parents had ever told us what they themselves could not have held to be true. Our simple faith was not shaken by mere questions of criticism, or by the problem how any human being could take upon ...
— My Autobiography - A Fragment • F. Max Mueller

... right, Peggy, I suppose; but it is hard to unlearn so much old schooling and to accept of new teachings. Did your faith support you when you were perplexed and disappointed—when friends were unfaithful, and the world hard ...
— Mr. Hogarth's Will • Catherine Helen Spence

... was one to whom the words 'can't' and 'impossible' really and literally had no meaning; and those who worked with her had to 'unlearn' them, and they did. It did, indeed, seem 'impossible' to leave for India at ten days' notice to carry on negotiations for the Scottish Women's Hospitals and raise an Indian fund, especially when one had been in no way ...
— Elsie Inglis - The Woman with the Torch • Eva Shaw McLaren

... was ordered to appear before the court and, on his refusal, was declared an outlaw. His eldest son was captured at the University of Louvain and sent to the Spanish court that he might unlearn the principles in which he had ...
— Heroes of Modern Europe • Alice Birkhead

... a loud fit of exultant laughter. "You've already got it!" he cried. "There's no need of explaining anything more to you! Any further explanations will, in lieu of benefiting you, make you unlearn what you've learnt. Were you therefore to, at once, set to work, and versify, your lines are ...
— Hung Lou Meng, Book II • Cao Xueqin

... Meantime, the student who supposed classifications to be matters of moment, and who laboriously learned to label the animals and birds of his acquaintance with an authoritative Latin name, was perpetually obliged to unlearn what he had acquired, as a new classifier brought new resources of hair-splitting pursuit of a supposed type or ideal to bear on the subject. Where, for example, our great ornithologists of the early part of the century, such as Wilson and Audubon, had classed all our numerous hawks in a ...
— A History of Science, Volume 5(of 5) - Aspects Of Recent Science • Henry Smith Williams

... you to begin that way. Start without a pad, and you never will have to unlearn what you get. That's my advice. I'm going to set him at a gallop now. Stand straight and lean ...
— The Circus Boys Across The Continent • Edgar B. P. Darlington

... come the year before, a green young student fresh from college and seminary—very green and very fresh—to do what I could towards establishing the white man's civilization among the Thlinget Indians. I had very many things to learn and many more to unlearn. ...
— Alaska Days with John Muir • Samual Hall Young



Words linked to "Unlearn" :   fling, put away, cast out, toss out, throw out, chuck out, forget, cast aside, toss away, toss, throw away



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