1

don't

contraction \ ˈdōnt \
Updated on: 19 Apr 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

See Words from the same year
NEW! Time Traveler

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

See Words from the same year
NEW! Time Traveler

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

Learn More about don't


Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

habitually complaining

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

April 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • rain-on-rainbow-umbrella
  • Which is the best synonym of traduce?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!