\ ən, (ˈ)an \

Definition of an

 (Entry 1 of 9)

: a entry 2 an opera an honor
\ ən, (ˌ)an \

Definition of an (Entry 2 of 9)

: a entry 3 sense 2 sixty miles an hour
variants: or an'

Definition of an (Entry 3 of 9)

1 \ see  and \ : and
2 \ ˈan \ archaic : if


abbreviation (1)

Definition of an (Entry 4 of 9)




Definition of an- (Entry 5 of 9)

— see a- entry 2
variants: or -ian or less commonly -ean

Definition of -an (Entry 6 of 9)

1 : one that is of or relating to American
2 : one skilled in or specializing in phonetician
variants: or -ian or less commonly -ean

Definition of -an (Entry 7 of 9)

1 : of or belonging to American Floridian
2 : characteristic of : resembling Mozartean

Definition of -an (Entry 8 of 9)

1 : unsaturated organic compound furan
2 : anhydride of a carbohydrate dextran


abbreviation (2)

Definition of AN (Entry 9 of 9)

airman (Navy)

A vs. an: Usage Guide

Indefinite article

In speech and writing a is used before a consonant sound. a door a human Before a vowel sound an is usual an icicle an honor but especially in speech a is used occasionally, more often in some dialects than in others. a apple a hour a obligation Before a consonant sound represented by a vowel letter a is usual a one a union but an also occurs though less frequently now than formerly. an unique such an one Before unstressed or weakly stressed syllables with initial h both a and an are used in writing. a historic an historic In the King James Version of the Old Testament and occasionally in writing and speech an is used before h in a stressed syllable. an huntress an hundred children are an heritage of the Lord — Psalms 127:3 (King James Version)

First Known Use of an

Indefinite article

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above


12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for an

Indefinite article and Preposition

Middle English, from Old English ān one — more at one

Abbreviation (1)

Latin annum; annus

Noun suffix (1)

-an & -ian from Middle English -an, -ian, from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French -ien, from Latin -ianus, from -i- + -anus, from -anus, adjective suffix; -ean from such words as Mediterranean, European

Noun suffix (2)

International Scientific Vocabulary -an, -ane, alteration of -ene, -ine, & -one

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about an

Dictionary Entries near an








Statistics for an

Last Updated

14 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for an

The first known use of an was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for an

English Language Learners Definition of -an

: of or belonging to

: characteristic of : resembling

\ ən, an\

Kids Definition of an

: a entry 2
Hint: An is used before words beginning with a vowel sound.
  • an oak
  • an hour
\ ən\
variants: or -ian also -ean \ ē-​ən, yən, ən \

Kids Definition of -an

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : one that belongs to American
2 : one skilled in or specializing in magician
variants: or -ian also -ean

Kids Definition of -an (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : of or relating to American
2 : like : resembling

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on an

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with an

Spanish Central: Translation of an

Nglish: Translation of an for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of an for Arabic Speakers

Comments on an

What made you want to look up an? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


tremendous in size, volume, or degree

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!