\ 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 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 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The family left at dawn and bought a new battery at a Walmart 150 miles away, and Bertha rumbled off the peninsula. Lauren Smiley, Wired, "The True Story of the Antifa Invasion of Forks, Washington," 8 Oct. 2020 Every morning at dawn, the wise men of the village sent four scouts up the hill, and the four scouts would sit back to back, looking east, west, north, south to warn if any trouble might be headed their way. Ew Staff, EW.com, "Read an excerpt from Leigh Bardugo's short story collection, The Lives of Saints," 2 Oct. 2020 Seven days a week, Karina Amaya Salamanca gets up at dawn to set up a tent along a busy highway on the southern outskirts of Tijuana. Wendy Fry, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Coronavirus leading to secondary pandemic of hunger in Baja California," 20 Sep. 2020 Play it on a Wednesday afternoon in Rhode Island, on an aircraft carrier in the South China Sea at dawn, on a high school football field on a Friday night. Doug Lesmerises, cleveland, "Ohio State vs. Michigan is back on the Big Ten schedule where it belongs (though a Wednesday would have worked)," 19 Sep. 2020 Four of them stayed the night, and a dozen arrived before dawn. Washington Post, "'I had to come’: Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s admirers line up to see her one more time," 23 Sep. 2020 The fire, which had grown to 20,000 acres, arrived the next day before dawn, spitting embers, toppling trees, exploding propane tanks, torching the sanctuary structure and burning a dozen guesthouses. Richard Read, oregonlive, "Inside the battle to save Breitenbush," 22 Sep. 2020 When outside during prime mosquito hours — dawn and dusk — wear long sleeves and long pants. Briana Rice, The Enquirer, "Mosquitoes are out in force in Greater Cincinnati. Here's what you can do about them.," 17 Sep. 2020 As dawn broke, two ships on the horizon were closing in. CBS News, "Divers think they've found the USS Grenadier, a U.S. submarine lost during WWII," 16 Sep. 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

13 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Dawn.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dawn. Accessed 23 Oct. 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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Comments on dawn

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