\ 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 On launch day, the winner will don a flight suit, walk up the staircase to the capsule and then launch, experiencing about three minutes of weightlessness and a view of space before the capsule returns to Earth buoyed by parachutes. Samantha Masunaga, Los Angeles Times, "How to score a seat on Blue Origin’s first crewed flight to space," 5 May 2021 Passengers opting to wear a face shield must also don a face mask that fully covers their nose and mouth, according to Spirit's policy. Meena Thiruvengadam, Travel + Leisure, "A Breakdown of Every Major U.S. Airline's Face Mask Policy," 23 Apr. 2021 The limited-edition figurines don a different getup for each tournament. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "A Pimento Cheese-Loving Garden Gnome Is This Year’s Must-Have Masters Souvenir," 9 Apr. 2021 Within minutes, orange and black confetti was sprayed throughout the floor on the T-Mobile Arena floor, as Beaver players and coaches began to don black championship hats. oregonlive, "Oregon State secures an NCAA tournament berth after beating Colorado 70-68 for Pac-12 tournament championship," 13 Mar. 2021 Chassion was her class valedictorian in high school and a longtime fan of UConn who declined scholarship opportunities to don a Huskies jersey. Alexa Philippou,, "UConn women’s basketball walk-on Autumn Chassion to enter NCAA transfer portal," 26 Apr. 2021 Aaliyah wasn’t the only ‘90s style icon to don the dress in its original heyday. Eliza Huber,, "Paloma Elsesser Brought Back Aaliyah’s Dress From The 2000 VMAs," 13 Apr. 2021 Jaromir Jagr is the last former MVP winner to don the Black and Gold., "Five things to know about Taylor Hall, who is at long last a member of the Bruins," 12 Apr. 2021 However, business owners can still require visitors to don face masks on their premises. Randy Diamond, San Antonio Express-News, "Face masks no longer required at the Alamo," 15 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Shelby Grad, the inimitable don of Metro, has shaped the big-picture strategy along with countless individual stories. Los Angeles Times, "Essential California: Our years together, and what’s next," 30 Apr. 2021 Peter Gotti, the mafia boss who succeeded his infamous brother as the don of the Gambino crime family, died while serving a federal prison sentence, sources familiar with the matter said Thursday. Kaelan Deese, Washington Examiner, "Peter Gotti, former Gambino crime family boss, dies in prison," 26 Feb. 2021 Ma, a Harvard graduate, is as expansively bookish and as intellectually curious as any literary don. New York Times, "Punctuated Poetry and Other Letters to the Editor," 15 Jan. 2021 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

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

14 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Don.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2021.

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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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