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This week's transatlantic vocabulary lesson

I was always a bit hazy on the circumstances under which "to wean" meant what. It's a good thing I've figured this out early and avoided confusing too many people as a result.

In Britain, one weans on to solids by introducing them.
In the US, one weans from any residual breastmilk or formula consumption, eliminating them from diet.

Two very different ends of the same spectrum.

P.S. Here's a headline from the BBC that only makes sense if one is focusing on the introduction of solids end of the spectrum: Weaning before six months 'may help breastfed babies'


Nov. 13th, 2012 02:36 am (UTC)
Really? I seem to have been saying it wrong all these years: I am very much of the weaning-off school (metaphorically too: one can be weaned off tobacco, eg, or any other indulgence) and the notion of weaning-onto is entirely foreign to me, though I am (as you know) entirely and old-school English.
Nov. 13th, 2012 11:07 am (UTC)
Same here. I'm surprised that you report your books agree with this because I've only ever understood it as the "American" use.