\ 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 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 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Shoreline anglers casting for walleye with diving plugs are finding success after dark and well before dawn, with those walleye heading to deeper water during the day. cleveland, "Mayflies are in full flight over Lake Erie, which helps those seeking walleye and perch: Northeast Ohio fishing report for Thursday, June 25," 25 June 2020 The removal, which started before dawn on Wednesday morning, came less than 24 hours after the Charleston City Council's unanimous vote to take the statue down. Mike Brest, Washington Examiner, "Crews start removing South Carolina statue of John C. Calhoun following city council vote," 24 June 2020 Musician and theater artist Jules Vaquera has been spending the cool hours right before dawn out and about in her King William neighborhood, chalking Black Lives Matter messages on the sidewalks. Deborah Martin, ExpressNews.com, "San Antonio artists and performers are responding to Black Lives Matter protests," 17 June 2020 What that was about is the new rhythm that will set the pace for summertime fun at a beloved seaside carousel that is so old that it once was powered by actual horses, carrying children at the dawn of electricity. Thomas Farragher, BostonGlobe.com, "Wear a mask. And hold your horses," 17 June 2020 That mindset, though also prevalent at the dawn of mainstream flying in 1960s, has been reinforced in recent years by ever-more elaborate, multi-course meals and craft cocktails offered in first and business class—all served by flight attendants. Jessica Puckett, Condé Nast Traveler, "Flight Attendants Are Finally Being Recognized For Keeping Us Safe," 17 June 2020 The hunt came amid a wild—and quick—grouper mating season, before dawn, during a full moon. National Geographic, "Would you let a pair of pigeons into your home?," 28 May 2020 One hypothesis, Schell says, is that animals might shift their activity back to dusk and dawn with fewer humans around. Sarah Zhang, The Atlantic, "At Least the Pandemic Isn’t Creating Super Rats," 8 June 2020 Ivan Thierry, 62, a local fisherman who catches sea bass around the wrecks that still litter the seabed nearby, was holding an American flag in tribute even before dawn. Raf Casert, Anchorage Daily News, "The loneliest of D-Day remembrances is hit by pandemic," 6 June 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

9 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Dawn.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dawn. Accessed 3 Jul. 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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