\ 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 dogThe 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

Verb 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 Fans are fawning over the new look in the comment section, with some already planning to try out purple themselves. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Ariana Grande Just Dyed Her Hair the Sweetest Shade of Lavender," 5 Aug. 2019 All of which is rich, even fawning, praise, but not exactly the same as some of the scorched-earth commentary that Grisham has offered lately. Paul Farhi, Washington Post, "What kind of White House press secretary calls her boss’s critics human scum? Stephanie Grisham.," 30 Oct. 2019 In addition to fawning over their fave’s new mane, users posed an important question about the star’s style: Given her tendency to coordinate her outfits with her hair color, will this mean tons of all-green ensembles in Billie’s future? Tess Garcia, Teen Vogue, "Billie Eilish Dyed Her Roots Neon Green," 6 July 2019 The reality television star and Kylie Cosmetics mogul fawned over the resemblance between herself and 22-month-old Stormi on her Instagram Story Monday, posting side-by-side photos of her baby girl and herself as a child. Jen Juneau, PEOPLE.com, "Seeing Double! Kylie Jenner Posts Side-by-Side Photos of Herself and Daughter Stormi," 17 Dec. 2019 So, once the wedding happens, that means another child to fawn over in the royal family, right? Leah Asmelash, CNN, "5 things you need to know about Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, who's about to marry into the British royal family," 26 Sep. 2019 That Has More Five-Star Reviews Than Any Other Skincare Product on Amazon Celebrities aren’t the only ones fawning over Skyn’s eye treatments. Braelyn Wood, Health.com, "Kristen Bell Uses the Skyn Iceland Eye Gels to De-Puff Before Photo Shoots," 2 Dec. 2019 But has there ever been a baby as universally loved and fawned over as Baby Yoda? Eric Spitznagel, Popular Mechanics, "An Alarmingly Deep Dive Into the Science of Baby Yoda," 2 Dec. 2019 Starting Tuesday night, the stories on Aniston’s account have been full of other celebrities fawning over Aniston joining Instagram. Elahe Izadi, Washington Post, "Of course Jennifer Aniston joined Instagram — and it probably wasn’t just to gift you ‘Friends’ selfies," 16 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Hungry fawns often make a soft bleat that has a begging tone to it. Jarrod Spilger, Field & Stream, "How to Call Whitetails During Each Phase of the Season," 6 Dec. 2019 As a bonus, in an agricultural state like Kansas or Iowa where there is good year-round nutrition for deer, a few 7-month-old doe fawns might pop into heat for the first time later on in the month. Michael Hanback, Outdoor Life, "Why Post-Rut is the New Best Time To Hunt Whitetails," 4 Dec. 2019 So, Newsom was shocked on Sept. 20 to see a months-old fawn near his house hobbling with a trap on its leg. Sara Cardine, La Cañada Valley Sun, "Big effort underway to save small La Cañada fawn hobbled by illegal trap," 11 Oct. 2019 In 2015, Bartoszek's team captured a 31.5-pound female in the process of digesting a 35-pound fawn. Allen G. Breed, sun-sentinel.com, "To save the Everglades, guardians fight time — and climate," 3 Dec. 2019 Fifi's lackluster coat brightened to a beautiful fawn color. Kitson Jazynka, chicagotribune.com, "How a dull-coated dog brightened my relationship with my sons," 18 Oct. 2019 The soon-to-be-Emperor fawns over Anakin’s heroism, while the Jedi scorn his egomania. Darren Franich, EW.com, "Revenge of the Sith," 3 Dec. 2019 The deer given the highest level had the highest level in their organs — and the lowest fawn survival. Dave Orrick, Twin Cities, "Are pesticides poisoning Minnesota’s deer? Deer hunters will offer up spleens — deer spleens — as part of study.," 5 Nov. 2019 He was forced to watch the president fawn over North Korean leader Kim Jong Un after months of missile tests. Adam Taylor, Washington Post, "John Bolton’s revenge will be bittersweet," 17 Oct. 2019

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 entry 1


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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Time Traveler for fawn

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

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Statistics for fawn

Last Updated

19 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fawn.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fawn. Accessed 26 January 2020.

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More Definitions for fawn


How to pronounce fawn (audio)

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

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).


to express in a more acceptable way

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