\ 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

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 For background, Lola was apparently peeved at her famous mom for posting a #ThrowbackThursday Halloween pic of her donning a bright yellow fisherman's costume from eight years ago. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Kelly Ripa Shares Rare Photo of Her Daughter Going to Prom on Instagram," 7 June 2018 The visual opens with King Cole donning a crown while riding over clouds on his throne with a group of perplexed children sitting on Actavis syrup bottles following his every move. Michael Saponara, Billboard, "J. Cole Focuses On Society's Ills in Trippy New 'ATM' Video," 20 Apr. 2018 The painted walls resembled the light gold coloring similar to what the Saints donned before Benson bought the team in May 1985. Larry Holder,, "Tom Benson restored hope to his hometown when it needed it most," 16 Mar. 2018 Everyone who posed had to don a pair of white gloves first., "‘The Shape of Water’ Wins Best Picture at the Oscars," 4 Mar. 2018 Norman posted a 12-6 record with three shutouts and a 3.30 ERA after donning a Reds uniform in ‘73 and finished sixth in voting for the NL Cy Young Award. Dave Clark,, "Norman, Bristol join Dunn in Reds Hall of Fame class," 7 Feb. 2018 After wearing the tiniest bikini last weekend, which featured translucent PVC straps and showed a lot of skin, Kardashian upped her game by donning not one, but two different swimsuit looks in one day. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kourtney Kardashian Wears Two Steamy Swimsuit Looks in One Day," 7 July 2018 Instead, the No. 17 overall pick out of Villanova represented his new squad by donning a green Bucks polo and black dress shorts while cheering his teammates on from the bench during a 90-63 victory over the Detroit Pistons at Cox Pavilion. Matt Velazquez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "When will first-round pick Donte DiVincenzo suit up for the Bucks? 'I'm not sure.'," 6 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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Dictionary Entries near don








Phrases Related to don

don/wear sackcloth and ashes

Statistics for don

Last Updated

19 Sep 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).


occurring twice a year or every two years

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