\ ˈȯn How to pronounce awn (audio) \

Definition of awn

: one of the slender bristles that terminate the glumes of the spikelet in some cereal and other grasses

Other Words from awn

awned \ ˈȯnd How to pronounce awned (audio) \ adjective
awnless \ ˈȯn-​ləs How to pronounce awnless (audio) \ adjective

First Known Use of awn

12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for awn

Middle English awne, going back to late Old English agene (accusative plural) "awns," Old English ægnan (plural) "chaff, sweepings," going back to Germanic *aganō-, *ahanō (whence also Old High German agana "awn, chaff, straw," Old Norse ǫgn, plural agnar "chaff, husks," Gothic ahana "chaff"), going back to Indo-European *h2eḱ-on- (whence also Old Prussian ackons "awn" and perhaps Latin agna "ear of grain," Greek akont-, ákōn "javelin, dart"), derivative of *h2eḱ- "sharp, pointed" — more at edge entry 1

Note: Middle English awne may reflect a borrowing from Old Norse, with the Old English word continued by dialectal [e:nz] (Lancashire, Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire; see Clive Upton, et al., Survey of English Dialects: The Dictionary and Grammar, Routledge, 1994).

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The first known use of awn was in the 12th century

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to spread as a report or rumor

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