1

don't

contraction \ ˈdōnt \
|Updated on: 11 Jul 2018

Definition of don't

1 : do not
2 : does not

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.


First Known Use of don't

1639

in the meaning defined at sense 1

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2

don't

noun \ ˈdōnt \

Definition of don't

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

Recent Examples of don't from the Web

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.

First Known Use of don't

1894

in the meaning defined above

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DON'T Defined for English Language Learners

don't

Definition of don't for English Language Learners

  • : something that a person should not do


DON'T Defined for Kids

don't

\ ˈdōnt \

Definition of don't for Students

: do not

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