\ 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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Synonyms & Antonyms for dawn

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Noun

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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 Every year, the realization would dawn anew: This fellowship, this constant and present connection, was the high peak. al, "Masked Observer bows at the crossroads of reverence and revelry," 13 Feb. 2021 Tagovailoa’s first start will dawn a new age for the Dolphins, who have long been in pursuit for another franchise quarterback since Hall of Famer Dan Marino retired in 2000. Safid Deen, sun-sentinel.com, "Dolphins' Tua Tagovailoa ready to take first hit since his last, and how he’s prepared for his first NFL start," 28 Oct. 2020 The new era would dawn some 40 years after Americans Walter Gilbert and Allan Maxam and Englishman Fred Sanger discovered different methods of reading the information on the double helix. Mark Johnson And Kathleen Gallagher, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "One in a billion: A 4-year-old is plagued by a mysterious, relentless disease. His genome might hold clues.," 18 Dec. 2010 Here’s a real-life morning that dawns with cotton candy skies and pristine (if bent) ice in Clearwater County, in the Canadian province of Alberta. Kahli Hindmarsh, National Geographic, "Will New Zealand show us the future of travel?," 5 May 2020 Overnight lows hold mainly in the upper 60s Confidence: Medium A not-so-unlucky Friday the 13th dawns with northeast winds as high pressure noses into the area, bringing a much cooler and slightly less humid break in the pattern. David Streit, Washington Post, "D.C.-area forecast: Tolerable warmth today; humidity increases tomorrow but breaks Friday," 10 Sep. 2019 Louisville Courier Journal The first Saturday in May dawned bright, beautiful and barren at Churchill Downs. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "Despite coronavirus-related uncertainties, officials say a 2020 Kentucky Derby remains definite," 2 May 2020 Law enforcement wouldn’t fine people for not wearing masks, but businesses have the right to refuse service to people not dawning a mask. Joseph Hoyt, Dallas News, "Dallas County reports drop in coronavirus cases after back-to-back record highs; Tarrant County reports an additional death," 19 Apr. 2020 Last Saturday morning dawned bright and warm, perfect conditions for a ride before a looming spring storm on Colorado’s Front Range. Joe Lindsey, Outside Online, "Inside the Controversial 6-Foot Social-Distancing Study," 17 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In Chicago, police said officers responded to an area of the predominantly Latino and Black neighborhood Little Village on the city’s West Side before dawn on the morning of the shooting after a police technology detected gun shots there. BostonGlobe.com, "Chicago releases video of fatal police shooting of boy, 13," 15 Apr. 2021 Abdullah and about 30 others had marshalled outside the Laceys’ Granada Hills home before dawn on March 2, 2020, to protest the then-D.A.'s refusal to meet with Black activists and other organizers in South L.A.. James Queally, Los Angeles Times, "Husband of former D.A. Jackie Lacey requesting diversion, could avoid jail in gun case," 9 Apr. 2021 Police said the suspect, identified as 38-year-old Brandon Elliot, lives in a nearby hotel that serves as a homeless shelter and was arrested before dawn on March 31, after investigators spent hours watching the area. Morgan Winsor, ABC News, "Lobby staff fired after attack on Asian American woman outside apartment building in New York City," 7 Apr. 2021 Cars would line up before dawn to get a test, which was first-come, first-served, last summer during the region’s initial major wave. Dallas News, "Parkland expands COVID vaccines; Some seniors have a shot at getting them at home," 6 Apr. 2021 Reshicka Upshaw wakes before dawn to get her kids ready for school. Amina Khan Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Coronavirus Today: A new resource for parenting through a pandemic," 2 Apr. 2021 Shwegu township before dawn Wednesday, according to local news outlets The 74 Media and Bhamo Platform. Staff, The Christian Science Monitor, "In Myanmar, opposition leaders seek alliance with armed groups," 1 Apr. 2021 In another change that Gloria said was an easy call to make, cleanups will no longer happen after sunset or before dawn, allowing homeless people to sleep undisturbed while also keeping cleanup crews from working in the dark. Gary Warth, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Mayor Gloria: Homeless cleanups will be more compassionate," 29 Mar. 2021 Low temperatures bottom out in the upper 30s to mid-40s and skies clear before dawn. Washington Post, "D.C.-area forecast: Wind advisory accompanies today’s warmth. Tomorrow’s a gem.," 26 Mar. 2021

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

28 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dawn.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dawn. Accessed 19 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for dawn



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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Comments on dawn

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