\ ˈdän How to pronounce don (audio) \
donned; donning

Definition of don

 (Entry 1 of 4)

transitive verb

1 : to put on (an article of clothing) donned his hat and gloves
2 : to wrap oneself in : take on sense 3a the donning of new and more tyrannous moralities— Edward Sapir



Definition of don (Entry 2 of 4)

1 : a head (see head entry 1 sense 6a), tutor, or fellow (see fellow sense 5) in a college of Oxford or Cambridge University she didn't want to be a don's wife and live in Oxford forever— Virginia Woolf broadly : a college or university professor
2 [ Italian, title of respect, from donno, literally, lord, from Latin dominus ] : a powerful Mafia leader
3 : a Spanish nobleman or gentleman used as a title prefixed to the Christian name
4 archaic : a person of consequence : grandee the great dons of wit— John Dryden

Definition of DON (Entry 3 of 4)

director of nursing


geographical name
\ ˈdän How to pronounce Don (audio) \

Definition of Don (Entry 4 of 4)

river 1224 miles (1969 kilometers) long in Russia in Europe flowing southeast and then southwest into the Sea of Azov

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Synonyms & Antonyms for don

Synonyms: Verb

put on, slip (on or into), throw (on)

Antonyms: Verb

doff, remove, take off

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Examples of don in a Sentence


He donned his gloves and hat. she donned her best gown for the ball

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Duchess Meghan, wearing a white blouse and panama hat, is spotted holding their three-month-old son, who donned a striped sweater and beige pants. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle, Prince Harry, and Archie Vacationed in the South of France," 19 Aug. 2019 Sky-high lashes were a must for those who donned masks that covered up everything but their eyes, and creative color combos suitable for such a celebration were at the forefront. Shalwah Evans, Essence, "Caribana 2019 Was A Spectacular Of Black Beauty And Hair," 5 Aug. 2019 For weeks, Kajma fought the stench and dug through the rubbish with a loyal coworker named Tamara Tracy, a 46-year-old receptionist at an accounting firm who donned a hazmat suit in 80-degree temperatures to help clean the Honeycheck house. Tresa Baldas, USA TODAY, "80-year-old woman lived in filth. Nobody knew until she was found dead, eaten by her dog.," 1 Aug. 2019 Even those who have never donned a cowboy hat will appreciate the sordid and controversial history of the genre. Eliana Dockterman, Time, "The Best History Podcasts to Listen to Right Now," 31 July 2019 On his first assignment as a chauffeur, man-child Michael (Andrew Lua) and dour Gordon (Adrian Pang), two Asian businessmen who don Western names when abroad, drag Boi into a hazardous chase. Carlos Aguilar, Los Angeles Times, "Review: The slick Spanish thriller ‘Boi’ is undercut by an abundance of style," 25 July 2019 The groom, Jeff Johnson, is a Marine veteran who donned his dress uniform while holding a gun in some photos. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, "Couple throws "MAGA" wedding, paying tribute to President Trump," 11 July 2019 Customers who don said apparel and visit a Chick-fil-A location from a store’s open until 7 p.m. on July 9 will receive a free breakfast, lunch or dinner entrée — including Chick-fil-A’s chicken biscuit, chicken nuggets and a variety of sandwiches. Kathleen Christiansen,, "Free food at Chick-fil-A for Cow Appreciation Day," 7 July 2019 One model wearing a head-to-toe kelly green gown sported glittery brows of the same hue, while another model who donned a teal blue mini dress also had matching sparkly brows, in the exact same color. Kristen Bateman, Allure, "Why Glitter Eyebrows Are Trending for Fall," 5 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Around that time, Johnson became strongly associated with pedaling delightfully around London on a bicycle like an eccentric Oxbridge don. Kyle Smith, National Review, "Who Is Boris Johnson?," 19 July 2019 In the images, Barbie dons bold red platform boots, a red-and-blue-striped space suit, and a gold disc on her forehead. Nick Romano,, "Barbie gets dolled up as David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust," 12 July 2019 Duffy, an emeritus Cambridge don, has realized my fears, engaging in what in journalism is known as bigfooting. Eamon Duffy, The New York Review of Books, "Feasting on Erasmus," 9 May 2019 Humans signal subordination by bowing, groveling, laughing at the boss’s jokes, kissing the don’s ring, saluting and so on. Frans De Waal, Discover Magazine, "Cheerful Chimps: Are Animals Really Happy When They Smile?," 31 May 2019 This Boba Fett dons sculpted Mandalorian armor, a rangefinder, flight suit and vest with body plate armor, knee pads, and wrist gauntlets. Maude Campbell, Popular Mechanics, "The Best Star Wars Toys for Any Aspiring Jedi," 27 Mar. 2019 Insiders will recognize real-world touches: the bookish spectacles one defendant dons for court, the feral dogs that roam gang neighborhoods, the civilian police employee who passes tips to her gang-member nephew. Jill Leovy, New York Times, "The Killers of the ‘Sex Money Murder’ Gang and the Cops Who Went After Them," 1 June 2018 Cuadrado is more interested in Ronaldo's abilities than what shirt number dons either player's back. Afp,, "Cuadrado: 'no problem' giving up number 7 jersey to Ronaldo," 12 July 2018 In the outside world, kids their age don caps and gowns, celebrate sweet 16s and quinceañeras. Joy Resmovits,, "What prom looks like in juvenile detention: contraband hairpins have to be returned at the end of the night," 21 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'don.' 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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1523, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for don


Middle English, contraction of do on


Spanish, from Latin dominus master — more at dame

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Statistics for don

Last Updated

22 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for don

The first known use of don was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for don



English Language Learners Definition of don

 (Entry 1 of 2)

formal + old-fashioned : to put on (a piece of clothing)



English Language Learners Definition of don (Entry 2 of 2)

British : a teacher in a college or university especially : a teacher at Oxford or Cambridge University
informal : a powerful Mafia leader


\ ˈdän How to pronounce don (audio) \
donned; donning

Kids Definition of don

: to put on don a cap

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More from Merriam-Webster on don

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with don

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for don

Spanish Central: Translation of don

Nglish: Translation of don for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of don for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about don

Comments on don

What made you want to look up don? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a usually brief trip or an expedition

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