\ 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

Antonyms: Verb

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Examples of don in a Sentence

Verb He donned his gloves and hat. she donned her best gown for the ball
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Conservatives pointed out that Apple and the NBA, which were so quick to don the mantle of social responsibility in the United States, cater to a genocidal and oppressive regime in China. Timothy P. Carney, Washington Examiner, "Corporate takeover," 14 Jan. 2021 Sipos then walks toward a police cruiser to don his protective gear. Fox News, "Nashville police camera footage captures moments before, after explosion," 29 Dec. 2020 He was supposed to don the Cardinal red and black at the University of Louisville this fall. David Harris,, "Central Florida homicides rose in 2020 amid gang war, pandemic," 28 Dec. 2020 Economists will point out that some of the direct payments will go to people who don’ t need them, but progressive Democrats and Trump were both demanding their inclusion. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, "The New COVID-19 Relief Package Is Flawed but Essential," 21 Dec. 2020 The automobile broker from Altadena decided not to don the red suit amid the pandemic this year. Andrea Chang, Los Angeles Times, "Santa is socially distant this year. Here’s how you can visit him," 16 Dec. 2020 During this time, music videos (still on MTV) saw East Coast rap artists like LL Cool J and Method Man don North Face jackets. Eliza Huber,, "The North Face Jacket That We Can’t Seem To Quit," 4 Dec. 2020 Before the door opens, the staff must don those gloves and gowns, and put on eye protection. Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press, "Inside Beaumont's COVID-19 units, nurses fear people 'just don't care'," 28 Dec. 2020 Normally, Wenz will don his red velvet suit and black boots as many as 220 days a year. Gloria Casas,, "If COVID-19 means you can’t see Santa, maybe he and his mobile Santa’s Village house can come to you," 11 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Helping his don his official robes were Larry Green, president of the St. Tammany Bar Association, and Donald Lee, a member of the Washington Parish Bar Associations., "From the Files of The Farmer," 15 Oct. 2020 Ashlin Parker is the don of the New Orleans Trumpet Mafia, a syndicate of local horn players playing jazz, hip-hop styles and more., "Trumpet Mafia, Pelicans and more on tap this week," 10 Aug. 2020 Mounting a knackered horse and dragging a fat old farmer, Sancho, in his wake, the don declares undying love for an ordinary girl out of her depth. Jeanette Winterson, New York Times, "Salman Rushdie Updates ‘Don Quixote’ for the Digital Age," 3 Sep. 2019 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had long concluded there were insufficient benefits to recommend that the public don masks and that the practice risks diverting vital protective gear from front-line medical workers. Rob Crilly, Washington Examiner, "Trump upends advice on using face masks even as he announces it," 3 Apr. 2020 In Devs, Amaya is run by its CEO, Forest (Nick Offerman), who wears earthy flannels and dons an unkempt beard. Adam Epstein, Quartz, "In “Devs,” creator Alex Garland sees Silicon Valley for what it really is," 27 Mar. 2020 The lottery will open on Friday, April 24 at 8 am and close on Tuesday, April 28 at 8 pm—don 't worry, the event will have its dates set in stone by then. Kelly Corbett, House Beautiful, "The Great Smoky Mountains Synchronous Firefly Event Is Back— Here's What You Need to Know," 6 Mar. 2020 Adding insult to injury, Schiff appears regularly on cable TV, which Trump watches obsessively at times, delivering sober take-downs of the president and comparing him to a Mafia don. Los Angeles Times, "Trump targets Adam Schiff as public enemy No. 1," 3 Oct. 2019 With John James Audubon's stunning bird prints forming a blockbuster exhibition at Rosecliff mansion this year, the flower show dons ornithological plumage of its own., "Native American Festival and Basketmakers Market," 14 June 2016

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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Time Traveler for don

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for don

Last Updated

26 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Don.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for don


How to pronounce Don (audio)

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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Comments on don

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