\ˈfȯn, ˈfän\
fawned; fawning; fawns

Definition of fawn 

(Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to court favor by a cringing or flattering manner courtiers fawning on the king

2 : to show affection used especially of a dog The dog was fawning on its master.



Definition of fawn (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a young deer especially : one still unweaned or retaining a distinctive baby coat

3 : a light grayish brown

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Other Words from fawn


fawner noun


fawny \ˈfȯ-nē, ˈfä- \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for fawn


fawn, toady, truckle, cringe, cower mean to behave abjectly before a superior. fawn implies seeking favor by servile flattery or exaggerated attention. waiters fawning over a celebrity toady suggests the attempt to ingratiate oneself by an abjectly menial or subservient attitude. toadying to his boss truckle implies the subordination of oneself and one's desires or judgment to those of a superior. truckling to a powerful lobbyist cringe suggests a bowing or shrinking in fear or servility. a cringing sycophant cower suggests a display of abject fear in the company of threatening or domineering people. cowering before a bully

Did You Know?


Some people will be glad to learn the origins of "fawn"-and there's a hint about the word's etymology in that declaration. Middle English speakers adapted an Old English word meaning "to rejoice" to create the verb "faunen," which shifted in spelling over time to become "fawn." That Old English word, in turn, derives from fagan, meaning "glad." "Fagan" is also an ancestor of the English adjective "fain," whose earliest (now obsolete) meaning is "happy" or "pleased." If we follow the etymological path of "fawn" even further back, we arrive at an ancient word that also provided Old German and Old Norse with words for "happy."

Examples of fawn in a Sentence


a sports star surrounded by fawning fans a student who could not wait to fawn over the new teacher

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The giddy display was so charming, even Nessa couldn’t stop fawning over the gal pals. refinery29.com, "Surprise! Two Of Your Netflix Faves Are BFFs," 19 June 2018 Why else, Bishop and a colleague wrote in a letter to the group demanding documents, would NRDC spend so much effort fawning over our adversary’s imperfect environmental record while attacking the Trump administration’s stewardship? Evan Halper, latimes.com, "Is that environmental group a pawn of Beijing? Nonprofits wary of being branded 'foreign agents'," 14 June 2018 Biarritz is San Sebastián's less fawned over but equally attractive cousin. The Editors Of Gq, GQ, "8 European Beach Vacations That’ll Make Your Instagram Friends Jealous," 28 June 2018 Very little seems to unite Americans these days—except, apparently, their enjoyment in fawning over the rulers the Founding Fathers waged war to overthrow. Heather Souvaine Horn, The New Republic, "Donald Trump, Meghan Markle, and America’s enduring obsession with the British royals," 12 July 2018 When shared on Twitter, the political ad was retweeted 40,000 times with many users also fawning over the message. Fernando Ramirez, Houston Chronicle, "Why a Texas Democrat's ad is being hailed as a game-changer," 26 June 2018 Royal fans have fawned over Meghan Markle's budding friendship with Kate Middleton, but what about her relationship with Prince William? Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle and Prince William Had a Sweet Moment at Westminster Abbey," 25 Apr. 2018 What if others fawn over the propaganda of one of the world’s most brutal regimes? David French, National Review, "Understanding the Media’s Ugly Weekend," 12 Feb. 2018 During a news conference at Chequers, the prime minister’s official country residence, Trump was by turns defiant, fawning, and dismissive about the interview. Julie Hirschfeld Davis, BostonGlobe.com, "In changing of tone, Trump heaps praise on May as ‘tough’ and ‘capable’," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The fawn wandered onto the deck of a Crows Pond Road home, where animal control officer Diane Byers and police Officer Christopher Vardakis arrived at 12:53 p.m., Chatham police said in a statement. Laney Ruckstuhl, BostonGlobe.com, "Chatham police rescue injured fawn," 26 June 2018 Clearly not in the mood for a game of tag, the fawn playfully jumps back and forth, wagging its tail like a pup waiting on kibble. Alexis Hobbs, Woman's Day, "Toddler Waddles Toward Baby Deer, What Happens Next is Absolutely Precious," 21 Aug. 2015 Many does in poor physical condition didn’t birth a fawn at all. Shannon Tompkins, Houston Chronicle, "Texas’ deer population would welcome good soaking," 16 June 2018 An untitled piece features a frail fawn being swept up and away by a heavy, billowing opera cape. James Charisma, latimes.com, "The hyper-real world of sculptor Erick Swenson comes to life at Honolulu museum," 4 June 2018 Authorities rescued a fawn tied to a tree Friday morning in Northeast Baltimore. Tim Prudente, baltimoresun.com, "Police find baby deer tied to a tree in Northeast Baltimore," 4 June 2018 The moving footage — captured by Bremerton, Washington woman, Jessie Larson— shows a petrified fawn laying down in the middle of a street and then being rescued by its mama. Monique O. Madan, miamiherald, "Scared baby deer rescued by mama from busy roadway," 2 June 2018 After an investigation, police determined the fawn’s mother may have been hit by a car in the area the previous Thursday. Laney Ruckstuhl, BostonGlobe.com, "Chatham police rescue injured fawn," 26 June 2018 That abundance of forage also helps keep does in good body condition and able to nurse fawns. Shannon Tompkins, Houston Chronicle, "Texas’ deer population would welcome good soaking," 16 June 2018

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


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for fawn


Middle English faunen, from Old English fagnian to rejoice, from fægen, fagan glad — more at fain


Middle English foun, from Anglo-French feun, foon young of an animal, from Vulgar Latin *feton-, feto, from Latin fetus offspring — more at fetus

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fawn lily


Statistics for fawn

Last Updated

12 Oct 2018

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The first known use of fawn was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for fawn



English Language Learners Definition of fawn

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to try to get the approval of an important or powerful person by giving that person praise, special attention, etc.



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

: a young deer; especially : a deer that is less than a year old

: a light brown color


\ˈfȯn \

Kids Definition of fawn

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a young deer

2 : a light grayish brown


fawned; fawning

Kids Definition of fawn (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to show affection used especially of a dog

2 : to try to win favor by acting as if someone is superior Fans fawned over the actor.

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More from Merriam-Webster on fawn

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for fawn

Spanish Central: Translation of fawn

Nglish: Translation of fawn for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fawn for Arabic Speakers

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