\ ˈdōnt How to pronounce don't (audio) \

Definition of don't

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : do not
2 : does not



Definition of don't (Entry 2 of 2)

: a command or entreaty not to do something a list of dos and don'ts

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Usage of Don't


Don't is the earliest attested contraction of does not and until about 1900 was the standard spoken form in the U.S. (it survived as spoken standard longer in British English). Dialect surveys find it more common in the speech of the less educated than in that of the educated; in those places (such as the Midland and southern Atlantic seaboard regions) where it has lasted in educated speech, it is most common with older informants. Surveys of attitudes toward usage show it more widely disapproved in 1971 than it had been 40 years earlier. Its chief use in edited prose is in fiction for purposes of characterization. It is sometimes used consciously, like ain't, to gain an informal effect.

Examples of don't in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun That kind of show-don't-tell philosophy is pretty engaging — even for the most jaded teenager. Christopher Elliott, USA TODAY, "It's hot and humid in Houston, but space attractions and free stuff make it worth the trip," 11 Sep. 2019 Be sure to check WFPK's website at for additional information on activities and do's and don'ts at the venue site. Kirby Adams, The Courier-Journal, "Here's your ultimate 2019 guide for free outdoor music in Louisville," 21 June 2019 With that in mind, here are a few dos and don'ts for celebrating Cinco de Mayo in America. Jamie Ballard, Good Housekeeping, "What Is Cinco de Mayo and Why Do People Celebrate It?," 9 Apr. 2019 Understanding the dos and don'ts of interacting with the royal family. Annabelle Spranklen, Town & Country, "What It's Really Like to Work for the Royal Family," 6 Apr. 2019 Like many Yeti products, the Rambler falls squarely in the want-but-don't-need category. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "The 24-Oz Yeti Rambler Was Made for Drinking a Big Beer Around the Campfire," 8 Apr. 2019 Read on for the dos and don'ts of calming the inflammation and healing the irritated skin on the double. Leah Prinzivalli, Glamour, "How to Get Rid of a Pimple Fast: 12 Dos & Don'ts of Fighting Acne," 17 Jan. 2019 Here, learn how to display the American flag respectfully, plus dos and don'ts for hoisting and folding it and more. Country Living Staff, Country Living, "American Flag Etiquette: Here's How to Properly Display the American Flag," 29 May 2018 There are a lot of do's and don'ts when meeting Her Majesty, including allowing the Queen to initiate body contact and letting her take the lead when walking, and Trump seemed to struggle a bit with the latter. Eileen Reslen, Harper's BAZAAR, "Did Donald Trump Break Royal Protocol by Walking in Front of the Queen and Not Bowing?," 13 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'don't.' 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't


1639, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1894, in the meaning defined above

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More Definitions for don't



English Language Learners Definition of don't

informal : something that a person should not do


\ ˈdōnt How to pronounce don't (audio) \

Kids Definition of don't

: do not

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More from Merriam-Webster on don't

Spanish Central: Translation of don't

Nglish: Translation of don't for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of don't for Arabic Speakers

Comments on don't

What made you want to look up don't? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to spread as a report or rumor

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