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Young children have both poor cognitive control (CC) and difficulty overriding temporary misinterpretations during language processing. We explored whether CC supports syntax-based word-learning when children have to revise misinterpretations. Using preferential-looking, we tested whether 20-month-olds could use syntax to assign meaning (instrument vs. patient) to novel nouns in sentences containing patient-biased verbs (“She’s pushing with the blicket” vs. “She’s pushing the blicket”). We also assessed infants’ CC using a working memory game. High- and low-CC infants preferred the correct interpretation in “patient” sentences (when verb-bias matched the syntax-based interpretation), but only high-CC infants preferred the correct interpretation in “instrument” sentences (when verb-bias mismatched the syntax-based interpretation). Thus, individual differences in CC in 20-month-olds predict performance on a syntax-driven word-learning task, but only when assigning the correct syntax-based interpretation requires overriding a conflicting verb-bias. Apparently, young children employ cognitive control to resolve syntactic ambiguity, thereby aiding word learning from syntax.