\ 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 The 22-year Beaver Dam resident got annoyed — and then motivated — because foodies on public radio were fawning over the large, sturdy and V-shaped pepper. Mary Bergin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A little-known heirloom pepper has its own festival in Beaver Dam, where it arrived in America long ago," 3 Sep. 2019 Jack Grazer did kind of like this fawning, fast-talking hypochondriac. Baltimore Sun Staff, baltimoresun.com, "'The Wire’ alum James Ransone talks Ziggy Sobotka’s legacy, Baltimore and ‘It Chapter Two’," 3 Sep. 2019 My job is to cover you, not fawn over you or rip you, just report on you. Savannah Behrmann, USA TODAY, "Fox News anchor rips into Trump: 'We don’t work for you'," 30 Aug. 2019 Trump has long fawned over his relationship with Kim, which historians have noted is unusual for an American president. Dartunorro Clark, NBC News, "White House walks back Trump comment that first lady has 'gotten to know' Kim Jong Un," 26 Aug. 2019 In the meantime, plenty of photos of his longer hair are there and ready to be fawned over. Nicola Dall'asen, Allure, "Harry Styles Fans Are Mourning the Loss of His Long, Curly Hair," 3 Sep. 2019 Alessandro Michele’s Gucci is an embarrassment of riches, with dozens of trophy pieces to fawn over and covet. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "We’ve Gotta Have It: The 17 Items that Defined Fashion in the 2010s," 18 July 2019 This is not a large concern, for the record, this notion that the Colts might actually listen to fawning from the same idiots, yours truly included, who predicted them to plummet a year ago. Gregg Doyel, Indianapolis Star, "Doyel: This Colts team is good. To pretend otherwise is ridiculous. But don't expect it to go to their heads," 24 July 2019 More than fawning over the dictator of North Korea? Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, "Ari Fleischer on Why Former Republican Critics of Trump Now Embrace Him," 9 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun One adorable cub gnaws on what looks to be a Thomson gazelle fawn’s lower leg. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Wild time on a Serengeti safari," 11 Sep. 2019 Amid alleys crammed with gelato shops, cafés, and souvenir stores, fifth- and sixth-century churches, mausoleums, and baptisteries stand out with their ochre and fawn facades. Prathap Nair, National Geographic, "Visit Italy’s mesmerizing city of mosaics," 20 Aug. 2019 On June 3, the department posted a photo on Facebook of Gagne holding an adorable baby fawn that had been trapped in some brush. Emily Sweeney, BostonGlobe.com, "Cute animal rescues and a wedding to remember," 7 Aug. 2019 With no time to waste, the quick thinking and moving officer rushed to the fawn's rescue. Sheila Vilvens, Cincinnati.com, "See why social media is 'fawning' over this Ohio police rescue captured on bodycam," 28 June 2019 The Akron Zoo recently welcomed a baby Siberian musk deer, the second fawn born at the zoo in less than a year. Robin Goist, cleveland.com, "Musk deer fawn named Little Bucky born at Akron Zoo," 21 June 2019 When Spirit was brought in early last week, the fawn was afraid and rejected bottles, Nicholas said. Washington Post, "A truck driver stopped to rescue a goat or lamb. Turns out, it was something rare.," 4 June 2019 The Sheriff’s Office said the two motorcycles, a 2001 Honda and a 2002 Harley-Davidson, were southbound on County Road 15 when a doe and fawn crossed the road. Forum News Service, Twin Cities, "Motorcycle passenger killed in western Minnesota crash," 6 Aug. 2019 The mother and fawn will join the habitat once Little Bucky isn’t so little. Robin Goist, cleveland.com, "Musk deer fawn named Little Bucky born at Akron Zoo," 21 June 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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Statistics for fawn

Last Updated

26 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for fawn

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

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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).


meddlesome, informal, or unofficial

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