\ ˈdȯn How to pronounce dawn (audio) , ˈdän \
dawned; dawning; dawns

Definition of dawn

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to begin to grow light as the sun rises waited for the day to dawn
2 : to begin to appear or develop a new era is dawning
3 : to begin to be perceived or understood the truth finally dawned on us



Definition of dawn (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the first appearance of light in the morning followed by sunrise danced till dawn at the crack of dawn Almost before the first faint sign of dawn appeared she arose again …— Thomas Hardy
2 : beginning the dawn of the space age

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Examples of dawn in a Sentence

Verb They waited for the day to dawn. A new age is dawning. Noun as dawn breaks over the city Winter brings late dawns and early sunsets.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The realization dawned that rats were involved sometime in the eighteenth or nineteenth century. Bess Lovejoy, Smithsonian Magazine, "The Pioneering Health Officer Who Saved Portland From the Plague," 25 Mar. 2020 From The Washington Post, coverage of the dawning realization that the economic impact of the epidemic is rapidly reaching historic proportions. Lawrence Specker | Lspecker@al.com, al, "Eleven coronavirus stories you need to read today," 22 Mar. 2020 The gravity of the coronavirus outbreak had not dawned upon the world yet, even though Wuhan had already been under a lockdown for almost a month by then. Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz India, "I escaped Covid-19 in Europe and beat India’s lockdown, but I’m not sure I’m any safer," 18 Mar. 2020 But Wednesday was the moment that the larger American public came to the dawning realization that the toll of the virus would be unavoidable for months to come, perhaps longer. Anchorage Daily News, "As big events are canceled and cases continue to spread, Americans come to grips with impacts of coronavirus," 12 Mar. 2020 Throughout my childhood, the ceremonies practiced during deer hunting season dawned on me peripherally, like someone else's religion. Amy Thielen, Saveur, "A Midwestern Hunter’s Thanksgiving," 15 Nov. 2016 As for the rest of the world, the reality of the coronavirus crisis — how serious this is, how broad its ramifications will be — had finally dawned. Rory Smith, New York Times, "Soccer the Sport Must Stop. Soccer the Business Probably Can’t.," 14 Mar. 2020 The following morning dawned clear and cold — ideal for our return run. John Schandelmeier, Anchorage Daily News, "Knowing the country minimizes risk of 'adventure’ when snow and wind turn overnight dog run into a 5-day outing," 1 Feb. 2020 Christmas morning will dawn with a low of 58 and a sunny high of 78. Kimberly Miller, USA TODAY, "Fort Lauderdale International Airport reopens after heavy rain closed roads, delayed flights," 23 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In 1971, a bomb went off inside a men’s room at the US Capitol; the radical group Weather Underground claimed responsibility for the pre-dawn blast. BostonGlobe.com, "This day in history," 1 Mar. 2020 At some lakes, temperatures can range more than 40 degrees in a span of eight hours from pre-dawn (in the mid-30s) to midafternoon (mid-70s). Tom Stienstra, SFChronicle.com, "Where to go this weekend to enjoy this crazy warm weather," 26 Feb. 2020 Let Kylie Jenner’s sweet morning song guide you through your pre-dawn movements because IHOP is having its biggest event of the year. Michelle Santiago Cortés, refinery29.com, "IHOP Has Big Plans For National Pancake Day (Hint: They Involve Free Pancakes)," 25 Feb. 2020 When Amy Vilela’s ex-husband called her in a pre-dawn panic one June morning in 2015, yelling that their daughter had been taken away in an ambulance, Vilela was confused. Tana Ganeva, Teen Vogue, "Amy Vilela’s Fight for Medicare for All Is Personal," 18 Feb. 2020 This pre-dawn meetup is a useful preview of how Mars will be central to space exploration this year. New York Times, "Watch Mars Disappear Behind the Moon in the Early Morning Sky," 17 Feb. 2020 After the pre-dawn showdown was over, four people were sent to jail for resisting arrest and obstructing a peace officer. Marco Della Cava, USA TODAY, "Oakland moms arrested after squatting to protest California's affordable housing crisis," 14 Jan. 2020 Forty-two hours after that pre-dawn shooting on May 24, Ramirez is accused of firing a single bullet into the chest of another man, leaving him dead in a parking lot of the Springtree Apartments off Southeast 162nd Avenue about 8 p.m. on May 25. oregonlive, "Teen tied to two deadly Portland shootings in 2019 that occurred within 42 hours of each other in SE Portland, police say," 1 Jan. 2020 The fall harvest came, and Miranda spent hours driving a tractor in the pre-dawn dark. Anchorage Daily News, "Trump Organization fires more undocumented workers - a year after its use of illegal labor was revealed," 31 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dawn.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of dawn


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for dawn

Verb and Noun

Middle English, probably back-formation from dawning daybreak, alteration of dawing, from Old English dagung, from dagian — see daw entry 1

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Time Traveler for dawn

Time Traveler

The first known use of dawn was in the 15th century

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Statistics for dawn

Last Updated

31 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Dawn.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dawn. Accessed 1 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for dawn


How to pronounce dawn (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of dawn

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to begin to become light as the sun rises
: to start or begin
: to begin to be understood



English Language Learners Definition of dawn (Entry 2 of 2)

: the time of day when sunlight first begins to appear
: the beginning of something


\ ˈdȯn How to pronounce dawn (audio) \
dawned; dawning

Kids Definition of dawn

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to begin to grow light as the sun rises Morning dawned bright and clear.
2 : to start becoming plain or clear It dawned on us that we were lost.



Kids Definition of dawn (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the time when the sun comes up in the morning
2 : a first appearance : beginning Early rockets marked the dawn of the space age.

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More from Merriam-Webster on dawn

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dawn

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dawn

Spanish Central: Translation of dawn

Nglish: Translation of dawn for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dawn for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about dawn

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