\ˈdōnt \

Definition of don't 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : do not

2 : does not


\ˈdōnt \

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

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 Watch with subtitles and don't—seriously, don't—watch while hungry. Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, "Travel Shows to Watch on Netflix Right Now," 4 July 2018 The do's and don'ts are very tricky and little offenses are to be expected. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "When Meeting Queen Elizabeth, Susan Sarandon Broke Royal Protocol in a Notable Way," 27 June 2018 Unless Meghan took Advanced Manners 301 at Northwestern University, palace staffers probably gave her quite the crash course on the major do's and don'ts of living regally. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Quiz: How Much Do You Really Know About Royal Protocol?," 26 June 2018 Instead of creating a third jersey with a mixture of modern and classic designs the Coyotes decided to employ the if-it-ain't-broke-don't-fix-it strategy. Richard Morin, azcentral, "Arizona Coyotes reveal original black 'Kachina' sweaters as new third jersey," 22 June 2018 Here are some dos and don'ts from Kelly Kauffman, senior vice president for human resources, for those attending the event. James B. Nelson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "How to land a job at the new Milwaukee Bucks arena: Pro tips for Wednesday's jobs fair," 19 June 2018 Sam Neill's gruff/rugged I-don't-want-to-be-a-dad performance as Dr. Alan Grant, its introduction of Laura Dern to an entire generation, that one scene where the T-Rex roars and the WHEN DINOSAURS RULED THE EARTH banner falls to the ground. Joshua Rivera, GQ, "The Best Part of Jurassic Park Is Its Music," 11 June 2018 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," 25 May 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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Statistics for don't

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Time Traveler for don't

The first known use of don't was in 1639

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More Definitions for don't



English Language Learners Definition of don't

: something that a person should not do


\ˈdōnt \

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

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