So, if teaching is the insertion of knowledge from one person to another, then the opposite of that is the extraction of that knowledge.

So for e.g, if I was to read up on the history of the slave trade, then to 'unteach me', you'd have to employ some sort of technique to eliminate that specific piece of information. You can think of it in the same as deleting data from a computer, to draw upon an analogy (well... I guess some would see little distinction)

  • 1
    Many would say the opposite of teach is learn; others, unlearn. It really depends what you mean by “opposite”.
    – tchrist
    Sep 17, 2016 at 22:30
  • I wonder if you're speaking of brainwashing.
    – Hot Licks
    Sep 17, 2016 at 22:38
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    Short of destroying part of the brain, there would seem no way to effect this. I'm not sure that such a word would make sense. Sep 17, 2016 at 22:46
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    The opposite is, er, teach - Teach me how to XXX. Teach me how not to XXX.
    – Dan
    Sep 17, 2016 at 22:47
  • 1
    Most words don't have exact opposites. Sep 18, 2016 at 4:47

3 Answers 3


At the risk of receiving downvotes (a risk I am willing to take), the exact opposite of teach is unteach. How one goes about unteaching is a different matter altogether, outside the scope of the question, which is "What is the exact opposite of teach?"



I'm afraid I can't find a definition. Wordnik has examples, such as

Through implementing certain rigorous and intense physical rehabilitation practices, for example, stroke victims and those with traumatic brain injuries have been able to successfully repattern the neurons in their brains.

Here's a badly written sentence taken from http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/neuro-hypnotic-repatterning-what-is-it-and-what-can-it-do-for-you that nevertheless gives a feel for the word:

These are all learned behaviours, and when you hypnotically repattern someone what you are basically doing is teaching them not to get to what they don’t want to get.

This seems to be me to be related to desensitization, which is part of the treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder (exposure and response prevention).


Memory erasureWikipedia

It is the selective artificial removal of memories or associations from the mind.

There are many reasons that research is being done on the selective removal of memories. Potential patients for this research include patients suffering from psychiatric disorders such as post traumatic stress disorder, or substance use disorder, among others.

See also: "Scientists have discovered how to 'delete' unwanted memories".

Like Jim commented, Sci-Fi books often use wipe (someone's) memory, (or erase, delete, etc. + memory, mind, etc.)

Wipe outTFD/Kernerman

  1. to remove; to get rid of.
    "You must try to wipe out the memory of these terrible events."

See examples from Google Books.

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