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: do not
: 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.


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

Examples of don't in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Check out our list of dos and don'ts for displaying the American flag indoors, outside, or on your vehicle. Sarah Martens, Better Homes & Gardens, 2 Aug. 2023 Another good technique is to focus on do's rather than don'ts. Cynthia Hanson, Parents, 16 June 2023 Videos of creators sharing their do's and don'ts of travel etiquette continue to go viral on the platform, with many users getting into heated discussions in the comments section. Uwa Ede-Osifo, NBC News, 2 June 2023 Follow these dos and don'ts for choosing the perfect front door color. Sydney Price, Better Homes & Gardens, 10 Apr. 2023 All this being said, consult your dishwasher's manual for details and dos and don'ts, as well as cleaning and maintenance instructions. Hadley Mendelsohn, House Beautiful, 5 May 2023 This time around, the band knows the do's and don'ts for life on the road since their reunion in 2021. Daniela Avila, Peoplemag, 16 Feb. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'don't.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


1639, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1894, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of don't was in 1639

Dictionary Entries Near don't

Cite this Entry

“Don't.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


: do not

More from Merriam-Webster on don't

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