\ 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

There was nostalgia emanating from every blade of the Etihad pitch, as players to have donned the Citizens' blue took on a Premier League All-Stars side in an entertaining 2-2 draw., "6 Ex-Footballers Who Could Without Doubt 100% Still Play in the Premier League," 12 Sep. 2019 Onu was also the first Buffs player to don the team’s turnover boxing robe. Kyle Newman, The Denver Post, "Buffs safety Mikial Onu provides bright spot for Colorado secondary with two interceptions in Rocky Mountain Showdown," 31 Aug. 2019 Not that Lanez has time to don an apron and pile scoops into your waffle cone — instead, co-owner Bobby Velez (Rhythm and Vine) handles the parlor’s day-to-day operations. Phillip Valys,, "Flagler Village: New bars, restaurants invade funky Fort Lauderdale village," 23 Aug. 2019 The 26-year-old from the Campbell County community of Grants Lick was one of 35 students to don a white coat and pledge a version of the Hippocratic Oath earlier this month at Northern Kentucky University's Highland Heights campus. Chris Mayhew,, "Northern Kentucky medical school opened: Inaugural class of 35 students get their white coats," 19 Aug. 2019 Wrapping himself in his big winter overcoat and donning his homburg hat, the Munich Post editor walked to the streetcar station. Washington Post, "AP BOOK EXCERPT: The ‘Enemy of the People’," 1 Sep. 2019 The unprecedented business formula The business, which dons Paul’s nickname, has developed a relationship with vendors over the decades that’s better than most, which allows it to get parts and equipment at reasonable prices, Almhjell said. Georgann Yara, azcentral, "Keeping customers safe has driven Whitey’s Auto Repair for more than 50 years," 1 Sep. 2019 Some philanthropic swans feign frustration at having to suit up twice — within just 36 hours — donning unique ensembles of sartorial finery. Catherine Bigelow,, "Fetes and art grants set the stage for upcoming SF Ballet and SF Opera galas," 27 Aug. 2019 Then Swift slowed down the tempo, donned a shimmering purple jacket, grabbed a guitar that read ‘Lover’ and launched into a gorgeous, faithful rendition of her new album’s title track. Jason Lipshutz, Billboard, "Taylor Swift Opens 2019 MTV VMAs With Triumphant 'You Need To Calm Down,' 'Lover' Performance: Watch," 26 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The apex predators have all but disappeared from False Bay, South Africa, where tourists often board boats to watch them hunt around Seal Island and the more daring don flippers and go shark diving. Annaliese Griffin, Quartzy, "Are great white sharks messing with us?," 1 Sep. 2019 In one instance, a water buffalo, Christmas lights dangling from a gash in its belly, dons S & M gear. Katy Waldman, The New Yorker, "Taxidermy Is a Metaphor for Our Time," 21 Aug. 2019 An original don of jungle way before the genre had a name, Ken has been a foundational artist for drum ‘n’ bass. Lily Moayeri, Billboard, "Family Business: Five Famous DJs Whose Children Followed In Their Footsteps," 2 Aug. 2019 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

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

19 Sep 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).


authorized for issue (as a bond)

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