\ ˈfȯn How to pronounce fawn (audio) , 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 How to pronounce fawny (audio) , 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

Plus, there’s something affirming about the fantasy of a celebrity choosing you over all the other fawning fangirls available to them. Kate Sloan, Glamour, "25 Sex Fantasies Women Have That Are Totally Normal," 6 Apr. 2019 While many will fawn over the latest collections released this week, the gala celebrated NYFW in a more philanthropic light. Eliseé Browchuk, Vogue, "Alicia Keys Performs at the 4th Annual Fashion Cares Gala," 13 Feb. 2019 Ellen chuckled and went on to fawn over Nick and Priyanka's relationship. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Ellen Confronts Priyanka Chopra for Not Inviting Her to Her Wedding," 30 Jan. 2019 Players who have spent most their adolescence being fawned over for their basketball skills won’t walk away from that so easily. Lindsay Schnell, USA TODAY, "This year's class of elite prospects eager to 'live out our dreams' in college basketball," 13 Apr. 2018 Bierzo, the region wine geeks can’t stop fawning over, is a pleasant, quiet drive from León. Benjamin Kemper, Condé Nast Traveler, "A Guide to Spanish Wine Country," 7 Mar. 2018 The Prince of Wales is looking forward to having another grandchild to fawn over, as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are expecting a baby in Spring 2019. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Royals Get Adorably Candid in New Portraits for Prince Charles' 70th Birthday," 13 Nov. 2018 The whole mix-up also gave Van Ness and Foy the chance to fawn over each other, and then share those incredible moments with the world. Andrea Park, Glamour, "Claire Foy Was Denied Entry Into an Emmys Party, so a Queer Eye Guy Helped Her Out," 19 Sep. 2018 Reva is as loquacious as Alma, and as fawning toward the novel’s couch-ridden narrator as Alma is toward her patient. New York Times, "A Woman Sleeps a Year Away in Ottessa Moshfegh’s Darkly Comic New Novel," 6 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Nicholas said the mother deer could be roadkill, and the fawn may have wandered out to the road to find her. Washington Post, "A truck driver stopped to rescue a goat or lamb. Turns out, it was something rare.," 4 June 2019 Nicholas said the mother deer could be roadkill, and the fawn may have wandered out to the road to find her. Alejandra Reyes-velarde, latimes.com, "Rare albino fawn rescued by truck driver from middle of the road," 3 June 2019 One group saw fawns that didn’t come close enough to shoot. Zusha Elinson, WSJ, "Put Down the Kombucha and Pick Up a Crossbow: Hipsters Are the New Hunters," 9 Jan. 2019 David Fawson of San Francisco helped Cal Fire officers rescue a fawn from fast-growing wildfire in Redding, about 230 miles north of San Francisco. Fox News, "California Highway Patrol officer rescues fawn from Carr Fire, goes viral," 1 Aug. 2018 Representatives from Haven Wild Care's fawn rescue program came to retrieve her within two hours. Fox News, "California Highway Patrol officer rescues fawn from Carr Fire, goes viral," 1 Aug. 2018 Neutral Territory: Dusty gray-browns—colors with names like taupe, fawn or cocoa—are classic without seeming cold. Ayn-monique Tetreault-rooney Klahre, Woman's Day, "What's Your Decorating Style?," 9 Nov. 2010 For much of the summer, construction workers have been watching two does with fawns cross back and forth beneath the highway. Evan Bush, The Seattle Times, "‘It’s a long time coming’: $6.2 million wildlife bridge over I-90 nears completion," 25 Sep. 2018 Just Leave that Fawn Alone On June 5, a Bell County game warden was alerted to a person who had stopped at a gas station with a fawn in her vehicle. Houston Chronicle, "Game warden field notes," 1 July 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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Dictionary Entries near fawn






fawn lily


Statistics for fawn

Last Updated

8 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for fawn

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)

disapproving : 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 How to pronounce fawn (audio) \

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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