1

an

play
indefinite article \ən, (ˈ)an\

Definition of an

  1. :  2a <an opera> <an honor>

a vs. an

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 (AV)>.

Origin and Etymology of an

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


First Known Use: before 12th century


2

an

play
preposition \ən, an\

Definition of an

  1. :  3a 2 <sixty miles an hour>

a vs. an

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 (AV)>.

Origin and Etymology of an

see 1an


First Known Use: before 12th century


3

an

conjunction

Definition of an

  1. 1\see and\ :  and

  2. 2\ˈan\ archaic :  if

12th Century

First Known Use of an

12th century

Variants of an

or

an'


4

an

abbreviation

Definition of an

  1. year

Origin and Etymology of an

Latin annum; annus


AN

abbreviation

Definition of AN

  1. airman (Navy)


an-

Definition of an-

  1. see 2a-


1

-an

noun suffix

Definition of -an

  1. 1 :  one that is of or relating to <American>

  2. 2 :  one skilled in or specializing in <phonetician>

Variants of -an

or

-ian

or less commonly

-ean

Origin and Etymology of -an

-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


2

-an

adjective suffix

Definition of -an

  1. 1 :  of or belonging to <American> <Floridian>

  2. 2 :  characteristic of :  resembling <Mozartean>

Variants of -an

or

-ian

or less commonly

-ean


3

-an

noun suffix

Definition of -an

  1. 1 :  unsaturated organic compound <furan>

  2. 2 :  anhydride of a carbohydrate <dextran>

Origin and Etymology of -an

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


AN Defined for English Language Learners


2

-an

adjective suffix

Definition of -an for English Language Learners

  • : of or belonging to

  • : characteristic of : resembling


AN Defined for Kids

an

play
indefinite article \ən, an\

Definition of an for Students

  1. :  2a Hint: An is used before words beginning with a vowel sound. <an oak> <an hour>


1

-an

noun suffix \ən\

Definition of -an for Students

  1. 1 :  one that belongs to <American>

  2. 2 :  one skilled in or specializing in <magician>

Variants of -an

or

-ian

also

-ean

\ē-ən, yən, ən\

2

-an

adjective suffix

Definition of -an for Students

  1. 1 :  of or relating to <American>

  2. 2 :  like :  resembling

Variants of -an

or

-ian

also

-ean



Seen and Heard

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

WORD OF THE DAY

a principle or belief held by a group

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ