\ 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

actualize, appear, arise, begin, break, commence, engender, form, materialize, originate, set in, spring, start

Synonyms: Noun

aurora, cockcrow, dawning, day, daybreak, daylight, light, morn, morning, sun, sunrise, sunup

Antonyms: Verb

cease, end, stop

Antonyms: Noun

nightfall, sundown, sunset

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Examples of dawn in a Sentence


They waited for the day to dawn. A new age is dawning.


as dawn breaks over the city Winter brings late dawns and early sunsets.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Since the genre’s dawning , nearly five decades ago, homophobic attitudes in hip-hop have been the norm. N.W.A and the Beastie Boys boasted about their disdain for gay people in lyrics. Los Angeles Times, "Lil Nas X came out, but has hip-hop? A macho culture faces a crossroads," 31 July 2019 That realization has dawned on Ajinomoto Co. of Tokyo, founded more than a century ago to make the seasoning monosodium glutamate, or MSG. River Davis, WSJ, "Rescuing MSG’s Unsavory Reputation," 27 Apr. 2019 One of the most serious concerns as Sunday dawned was the possibility that heavy runoff from the storm would swell the Amite and Comite Rivers over their banks. David Montgomery, New York Times, "Still Menaced by Flooding, Louisiana Dodges a Storm’s Worst Blows," 14 July 2019 Next debates: July 30 and 31 in Detroit on CNN A sense of urgency is dawning for Castro and others whose candidacies may be imperiled by tightened qualifications for fall debates. Bill Lambrecht, ExpressNews.com, "Texan Julián Castro needs a spark tonight in first Democratic debate," 26 June 2019 Bonnie saw in him both the light and the dawning dark. Tribune News Service, oregonlive.com, "The Man in the Window: Is this the childhood of a serial killer? (Part One)," 22 June 2019 Mother’s Day dawned bright and sunny in Manhattan, and Donna Hanover had plans. Anne-marie O'neill, PEOPLE.com, "From the Archives: How Rudy Giuliani and Judith Nathan Started Their Marriage by Ending Another," 4 Apr. 2018 After the first greedy devouring of raw narration, there dawns a sense of the music within the words, the many voices that intrigue, or frighten, or amuse. John E. Mcintyre, baltimoresun.com, "If you are an editor, the world is in need of you," 18 May 2018 Quite without warning, a new era is dawning in Philadelphia. Bill Lyon, Philly.com, "It's a new (winning) era in Philly sports | Bill Lyon," 14 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The planet has already warmed by 1 degree Celsius since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, which has caused rising seas and more frequent and intense heat waves. Umair Irfan, Vox, "Air travel is a huge contributor to climate change. A new global movement wants you to be ashamed to fly.," 1 Aug. 2019 So this may not be the long sought-after Pokémon mobile game people have been asking for since the dawn of the smartphone era. Nick Statt, The Verge, "Pokémon Masters on mobile turns collecting pokémon into a microtransaction," 24 July 2019 All of humankind, since the dawn of time, had yearned to reach the moon. Randy Blaser, chicagotribune.com, "Column: We landed on the moon not because we needed to, but because we could," 19 July 2019 Since the dawn of humanity, the moon has occupied a central place in our consciousness. Eva Botkin-kowacki, The Christian Science Monitor, "Apollo 11 at 50: How the moon landing changed the world," 16 July 2019 Chief Justice Roberts begins by telling us that partisan gerrymandering has been with us since the dawn of the Republic and that the Framers delegated the issue of gerrymandering to the states and to Congress. Guy-uriel E. Charles, Time, "SCOTUS's Ruling on Gerrymandering Endangers US Democracy," 11 July 2019 As an industry, baseball has increased the depth of its knowledge by a revolutionary degree since the dawn of the 21st century. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, "You get a whiff of failure when boiling down baseball numbers," 22 June 2019 Of course, black women have been wearing our hair natural since the dawn of time. Collier Meyerson, WIRED, "The YouTubers Who Changed the Landscape for #NaturalHair," 18 June 2019 Since the dawn of industrialisation, no advanced capitalist democracy has fallen out of the ranks of high-income countries or regressed permanently into authoritarianism. The Economist, "How compatible are democracy and capitalism?," 13 June 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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Learn More about dawn

Dictionary Entries near dawn


Dawes' limit



dawn blue

dawn gray

dawn horse

Statistics for dawn

Last Updated

5 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for dawn

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

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on dawn

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dawn

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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

Comments on dawn

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


a period when something is suspended

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