\ 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

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 As the 90s dawned things were looking up for women. Allison Yarrow, Time, "How the ’90s Tricked Women Into Thinking They’d Gained Gender Equality," 13 June 2018 Another factor is a dawning awareness that social media may not be particularly good for our mental health or our democracy, leading to a wave of users scaling back and even opting out entirely. Christopher Mims, WSJ, "The Hot New Channel for Reaching Real People: Email," 19 Jan. 2019 Whether the nightmare is Orwell’s Big Brother, Huxley’s human hatcheries or the myriad variations on nuclear annihilation and worldwide contagion, a dreaded new reality has dawned. Anna Mundow, WSJ, "‘The Wall’ Review: We Shall Defend Our Island," 1 Mar. 2019 Saturday will dawn with a chilly but dry morning, along with a blend of clouds and sunshine. David Epstein, BostonGlobe.com, "We’re about to have an unusually cold weekend," 23 Mar. 2018 As 2018 dawned, expectations for self-driving vehicles were sky-high: Waymo, Alphabet's self-driving car company, was testing fully driverless cars and preparing for a commercial launch in the Phoenix area. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "The hype around driverless cars came crashing down in 2018," 30 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Sky’s daily routine usually begins in the ocean at dawn, near the family’s home in Japan. Jack Harris, latimes.com, "Young, small, but mighty: Skateboarder Sky Brown shreds path toward Olympics," 15 June 2019 Those who wanted to be among the first arrived before dawn, hours before the park’s opening. Julia Webster, Time, "Harry Potter Fans Wait up to 10 Hours to Ride Universal Orlando’s Newest Roller Coaster," 14 June 2019 At dawn, the ground around the shack is littered with used toilet paper. The Economist, "Indigenous Colombians fear losing their hallucinogenic brews," 14 June 2019 At dawn, he and a few others set off on their assignment, only to encounter a German staff car. Ron Grossman, chicagotribune.com, "‘I’d like to volunteer, sir’: Memories of D-Day live on through oral histories," 5 June 2019 Before the attack began at dawn, Mohamed Ibrahim Ahmed and friends had built barricades made of bricks to protect the site of a sit-in where pro-democracy protesters have been camping out for almost two months. Max Bearak, Washington Post, "Sudan’s capital on lockdown as protesters recall a day of violence that killed 35," 4 June 2019 Once again under the stars just a few hours before dawn, the white-robed men of the community gather in front of their small synagogue, young sons beside them, rubbing the sleep from their eyes. National Geographic, "The very ancient Passover of one of the smallest religions in the world," 19 Apr. 2019 In the still of the dawn, with the battle ebbing, there was a tranquility to the way these southern flatlands rolled gently down to the Euphrates. Azad Cudi, Harper's magazine, "Long Shot," 10 Jan. 2019 Few knew of their achievement because the scant TV coverage was limited to pre-dawn snippets on cable outlets. Liz Clarke, courant.com, "USWNT fights for equal pay as it fights to defend World Cup title," 3 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

27 May 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).


to take the place or position of

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