\ ˈdän How to pronounce don (audio) \
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



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 How to pronounce Don (audio) \

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

Antonyms: Verb

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Examples of don in a Sentence

Verb He donned his gloves and hat. she donned her best gown for the ball
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Confidently don it in front of a romantic prospect? Katharine K. Zarrella, WSJ, 17 July 2021 Usually, 40 to 50 men don their aprons and caps and cook dishes inspired by family recipes. Praveena Somasundaram, Dallas News, 19 June 2021 There, vast blowups of the artist’s work are projected in 360 degrees inside a 20,000-square-foot space, and visitors can don headsets for a virtual-reality walk with the artist to places that inspired his most famous paintings. Washington Post, 17 June 2021 Workers will don masks and resume feeding people who are homeless at the nearby House of Charity and jam to music while packing food for overseas relief missions. Dee Depass, Star Tribune, 16 June 2021 As an avid biker, Mr. Biden could don his helmet and join the parade on any one of Brussels’ many bike paths. Howard Lafranchi, The Christian Science Monitor, 11 June 2021 Some fans might even don one of her hoodies in the cool Bay Area conditions. Edgar Thompson,, 3 June 2021 All of these games come from indie studios, and each of them proudly don their influences. Luke Winkie, Wired, 1 June 2021 Loved for both its style and craftsmanship, the designs also don that classic Italian gioia di vivere that calls to the summer. Felicity Carter, Forbes, 1 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Shelby Grad, the inimitable don of Metro, has shaped the big-picture strategy along with countless individual stories. Los Angeles Times, 30 Apr. 2021 Peter Gotti, the mafia boss who succeeded his infamous brother as the don of the Gambino crime family, died while serving a federal prison sentence, sources familiar with the matter said Thursday. Kaelan Deese, Washington Examiner, 26 Feb. 2021 Ma, a Harvard graduate, is as expansively bookish and as intellectually curious as any literary don. New York Times, 15 Jan. 2021 Helping his don his official robes were Larry Green, president of the St. Tammany Bar Association, and Donald Lee, a member of the Washington Parish Bar Associations., 15 Oct. 2020 Ashlin Parker is the don of the New Orleans Trumpet Mafia, a syndicate of local horn players playing jazz, hip-hop styles and more., 10 Aug. 2020 Mounting a knackered horse and dragging a fat old farmer, Sancho, in his wake, the don declares undying love for an ordinary girl out of her depth. Jeanette Winterson, New York Times, 3 Sep. 2019 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had long concluded there were insufficient benefits to recommend that the public don masks and that the practice risks diverting vital protective gear from front-line medical workers. Rob Crilly, Washington Examiner, 3 Apr. 2020 In Devs, Amaya is run by its CEO, Forest (Nick Offerman), who wears earthy flannels and dons an unkempt beard. Adam Epstein, Quartz, 27 Mar. 2020

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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Time Traveler for don

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

25 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Don.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Aug. 2021.

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More Definitions for don



English Language Learners Definition of don

 (Entry 1 of 2)

formal + old-fashioned : to put on (a piece of clothing)



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

British : a teacher in a college or university especially : a teacher at Oxford or Cambridge University
informal : a powerful Mafia leader


\ ˈdän How to pronounce don (audio) \
donned; donning

Kids Definition of don

: to put on don a cap

More from Merriam-Webster on don

Nglish: Translation of don for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of don for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about don


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