\ˈdän \
donned; donning

Definition of don 

(Entry 1 of 4)

transitive verb

1 : to put on (an article of clothing) donned his hat and gloves

2 : to wrap oneself in : take on sense 3a the donning of new and more tyrannous moralities— Edward Sapir


\ˈdän \

Definition of don (Entry 2 of 4)

1 : a head (see head entry 1 sense 6a), tutor, or fellow (see fellow sense 5) in a college of Oxford or Cambridge University she didn't want to be a don's wife and live in Oxford forever— Virginia Woolf broadly : a college or university professor

2 [ Italian, title of respect, from donno, literally, lord, from Latin dominus ] : a powerful Mafia leader

3 : a Spanish nobleman or gentleman used as a title prefixed to the Christian name

4 archaic : a person of consequence : grandee the great dons of wit— John Dryden

Definition of DON (Entry 3 of 4)

director of nursing


geographical name
\ˈdän \

Definition of Don (Entry 4 of 4)

river 1224 miles (1969 kilometers) long in Russia in Europe flowing southeast and then southwest into the Sea of Azov

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Synonyms & Antonyms for don

Synonyms: Verb

put on, slip (on or into), throw (on)

Antonyms: Verb

doff, remove, take off

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Examples of don in a Sentence


He donned his gloves and hat. she donned her best gown for the ball

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But precautions must be taken, and that means donning a flight suit and harness, then being strapped into a parachute training rig. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "B-52 Bombers Could Quadruple Their Wing Bomb Loads," 25 June 2018 At a press conference the firm’s executives donned batik shirts and huddled around it, giving a cheery thumbs-up. The Economist, "Why Indonesia is so bad at lawmaking," 21 June 2018 The pop-up will sit right in the middle of the food hall and resemble VH’s renowned decor, from the tall booths to candlelight, so don something dapper and get ready for a strong drink. Adam Lukach, RedEye Chicago, "5 things to do this weekend in Chicago," 31 May 2018 With some donning tiaras of their own, the group of doll designers, artisans and photographers gathered around television screens and closely studied Meghan Markle’s hair, makeup, accessories, flowers and the design of her gown, tiara, and veil. Amanda Marrazzo,, "Niles doll company replicates Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's royal wedding looks just hours after ceremony," 19 May 2018 Two people, both donning masks, got out of the vehicle’s passenger side, authorities said. Elizabeth Zwirz, Fox News, "Gunshot reportedly fired at pizza delivery driver during 'prank' delivery order," 4 Apr. 2018 Partly, that’s because they’ve been donned ever-slinkily by a certain type of nonconformist poster boy for going on 60 years now: Hunter S. Thompson, Elvis, Ethan Hawke in Reality Bites, just to name a few. Yang-yi Goh, GQ, "The Best Camp Shirts Make Every Day Feel Like a Vacation," 15 May 2018 Save for her stints as Dark Betty donning a jet-black wig, Lili’s blond waves have become somewhat of a beauty signature for the actor. Marissa Miller, Teen Vogue, "Lili Reinhart’s Best Red Carpet Beauty Looks," 6 May 2018 Mia: Maybe broach the topic of her donning a strap-on over dinner after a glass of wine — or two. Steve & Mia,, "Steve & Mia: How to broach an unusual sex request," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The same theory could be applied to plenty of future items that Markle dons, or even past items that have since sold out. Rachel King, Fortune, "Meghan Markle Is Being Credited With Boosting Aritzia's Earnings. But Is the 'Meghan Effect' Real?," 13 July 2018 Light appetites find a mini don here with tuna and/or salmon on rice. Liz Biro, Indianapolis Star, "Here's where to get a poké bowl in Indianapolis, including 5 new restaurants," 31 May 2018 The trial of the octogenarian Mafia don is a reminder of how much Boston and its criminal underworld have changed. Shelley Murphy,, "Mafia murder trial occurring now in Boston highlights how much city’s underworld has changed," 29 May 2018 Like the iconic arctic fox, the snowshoe hare dons white fur for the winter—a good camouflage in the snow. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "How the snowshoe hare is losing its white winter coat," 21 June 2018 Nefarious politicians, crime dons, illicit arms dealers and femmes fatales with dresses cut up to here populate scene after scene, set amid the Gulf’s glittering nightclubs, luxury hotels and wide-open desert highways. Lisa Tsering, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Race 3': Film Review," 18 June 2018 Choose your entree — options may include the oyako don (chicken and egg over rice), chicken katsu or a perfect bowl of local fish, chopped and served raw over rice. Chronicle Staff,, "A guide to navigating a hassle-free Mission," 17 June 2018 Thomas Troelson The young Don and the old don come together on this feel-good anthem. Kat Bein, Billboard, "Don Diablo's 10 Best Songs: Critic's Picks," 29 May 2018 Tuna sashimi comes on tekka don, named for the gambling dens (tekkaba) where it was served from the mid-1600s to the early 1900s. Liz Biro, Indianapolis Star, "Here's where to get a poké bowl in Indianapolis, including 5 new restaurants," 31 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'don.' 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 don


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1523, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for don


Middle English, contraction of do on


Spanish, from Latin dominus master — more at dame

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Phrases Related to don

don/wear sackcloth and ashes

Statistics for don

Last Updated

17 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for don

The first known use of don was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for don



English Language Learners Definition of don

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to put on (a piece of clothing)



English Language Learners Definition of don (Entry 2 of 2)

: a teacher in a college or university; especially : a teacher at Oxford or Cambridge University

: a powerful Mafia leader


\ˈdän \
donned; donning

Kids Definition of don

: to put on don a cap

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Comments on don

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


to reject or criticize sharply

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