\ 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 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 The similarities to the way things worked in mainland China dawned on her. Dorothy Rabinowitz, WSJ, "‘Battle for Hong Kong’ Review: A People Rises Up," 6 Feb. 2020 But by March 14, when Chapa and her family had returned to San Antonio — the judge herself insisting on wearing gloves and a mask on the flight back that day — the dawning toll of the virus had quite literally come home. Brian Chasnoff, ExpressNews.com, "Local judge struggling to recover from coronavirus," 31 Mar. 2020 That dawning reality has been the focus this week in the New York Times Opinion section. Lisa Lerer, New York Times, "Suddenly, a New Normal," 19 Mar. 2020 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Ever since the dawn of the space age, defense planners have debated whether cislunar space could become another off-world arena for terrestrial conflicts, just as lower orbits around Earth have. Leonard David, Scientific American, "NASA Proposes New Rules for Moon-Focused Space Race," 21 May 2020 Sanatoriums began springing up in Arizona at the dawn of the 20th century. Roger Naylor, azcentral, "A century before coronavirus, Arizona was a haven for people fleeing another fearsome disease," 11 May 2020 And Snopes has seen a record amount of traffic to its site since the dawn of the crisis. Elahe Izadi, Anchorage Daily News, "There are so many coronavirus myths that even Snopes can’t keep up," 16 Apr. 2020 At the dawn of this decade, automakers face new challenges in modernizing iconic cars and nameplates. Andrew Moseman, Fortune, "When reinventing a classic car name works—and why it fails," 7 Apr. 2020 Since the dawn of time, humanity has been transfixed with our closest planetary neighbor. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, "Every Moon in Our Solar System, Ranked," 7 Apr. 2020 Flair’s victory would mark the dawn of a new era and a new NWA World Heavyweight Championship. cleveland, "100 greatest wrestling matches to watch over WrestleMania weekend," 3 Apr. 2020 An enduring goddess: At the dawn of Egyptian civilization, this goddess and legendary protector of the dead was revered. Tasneem Alsultan, National Geographic, "THE BEST OF NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX," 23 Mar. 2020 At the dawn of the 2020s, most sports have a men’s category, a women’s category—and intense fighting about the definitions. Louise Radnofsky, WSJ, "The Race to Replace the Binary of Men’s and Women’s Sports," 9 Mar. 2020

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

26 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Dawn.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dawn. Accessed 28 May. 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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