\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

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 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 The drama of the black-and-white cover shoot was matched only by the fainting, freaking and fawning response to it on Twitter, where fans simply could not take it. Vogue, "Chadwick Boseman's Rolling Stone Cover Breaks the Internet," 19 Feb. 2018 Meanwhile, Vittoria Ceretti was by the clothing racks fawning over her look for the show: a reinterpretation of Gianni’s famous black safety pin dress from the ’90s. Brooke Bobb, Vogue, "Watch What Happened Behind the Scenes at Versace’s Mega Pre-Fall 2019 Show in New York," 6 Dec. 2018 The businesslike mood contrasted with Trump’s fawning over Macron at a state dinner in April, and Macron’s lavish Eiffel Tower welcome for the Trumps last year. Angela Charlton, The Seattle Times, "Bromance cools for once-chummy Trump and Marcon," 26 Sep. 2018 But even an Oscar winner isn't enough to distract rabid Lush fans from asking incisive product questions and fawning over their styling cream. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Lush Employee Goes Viral for Being Leonardo DiCaprio's Doppelgänger," 15 Aug. 2018 Ryan Gosling is no stranger to fans fawning over him on the Internet, but his surprise appearance at a Toronto coffee shop earlier this week, after a fervent Twitter campaign, proved to be a major real-life event for all involved. Fox News, "Ryan Gosling stops by Toronto coffee shop after management lobbies for visit with cardboard cut-out," 13 Sep. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 The Eugene Police Department on Thursday made public a video and photo of Officer Shawni McLaughlin freeing a terrified fawn that got stuck in a backyard fence. Fox News, "Body camera video shows Oregon officer rescuing fawn," 31 Aug. 2018 The San Francisco California Highway Patrol posted a photo of what happened after one of its patrolmen helped rescue a fawn from near the raging fire line. Lorin Eleni Gill, The Seattle Times, "Highway Patrol officer rescues fawn from California wildfire," 31 July 2018 Representatives from Haven Wild Care’s fawn rescue program came to retrieve her within two hours. Lorin Eleni Gill, The Seattle Times, "Highway Patrol officer rescues fawn from California wildfire," 31 July 2018 The designer also created new pieces for the de Menils, including the Lips sofa in fawn wool, which was inspired by the Man Ray painting Observatory Time: The Lovers (1934). William Middleton, Town & Country, "How the De Menil Family Raised Good Taste to an Art Form," 7 Mar. 2018 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

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about fawn

Listen to Our Podcast about fawn

Dictionary Entries near fawn






fawn lily


Statistics for fawn

Last Updated

19 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for fawn

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on fawn

What made you want to look up fawn? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


important, real, or meaningful

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!