\ 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 Customers fawned over me while my mom did her deals. Alia Volz, Bon Appétit, "My Mom's Pot Brownies Were Legendary During the AIDS Epidemic. This Is Her Recipe.," 20 Apr. 2020 If her restaurant—fawned over by food critics and with a savvy digital presence—can’t weather the storm, what will happen to others? Emma Hinchliffe, Fortune, "3 restaurateurs on how the battered food-service industry is weathering the coronavirus pandemic," 20 Apr. 2020 As much as your hose-in-hand neighbor may fawn over his pristine green stretch, mulch adds some diversity to your yard's look, while supplying your plants with natural nutrients. Anna Brooks, Popular Science, "How to create a perfectly imperfect lawn," 15 June 2018 At least one journalist described Sprenz as a criminal mastermind in an almost-fawning story published in The Enquirer that same month. Cameron Knight, Cincinnati.com, "How a Mexican cow stopped a bank robber and brought him to justice in Cincinnati," 16 Apr. 2020 Immediately, journalists, who are now perhaps the most tribalistic group in American political life, rallied around her with fawning tributes to her bravery and victimhood (because Trump only lashes out at black women, apparently). David Harsanyi, National Review, "Mike Lindell, Not Yamiche Alcindor, Is the Hero," 31 Mar. 2020 Birx has also been fawned over in fashion opinion pieces, from the Washington Post to the New York Post. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, "Deborah Birx earns fashion clout amid coronavirus tumult," 25 Mar. 2020 In one corner, guests fawned over Taylor DeMartino of Blooming Gallery's orchid treatment in the dining room. Amber Elliott, Houston Chronicle, "'Best Dressed' Hall of Fame honoree Greggory Burk hosts 'girls night in' with Moda Operandi," 20 Feb. 2020 The crowd fawned over slo-mo replays on the Garden's video boards - a striking highlight with Bono's exaggerated mustache flowing at his side. CBS News, "Poodle wins group at Westminster dog show after McDonald's snack," 11 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The fawn was brought to Out-Back Wildlife Rehab Center in Monroe County to be treated. Emma Dale, Detroit Free Press, "Trenton man saves fawn on the side of I-75," 4 June 2020 Jasinski assures deer lovers that a truly motherless fawn will vocalize its suffering at a volume that cannot be ignored. cleveland, "Baby animals on their own are rarely orphaned, wildlife experts say," 3 June 2020 The familiar white spots of fawns mimic sunlight hitting the forest floor. cleveland, "Baby animals on their own are rarely orphaned, wildlife experts say," 3 June 2020 The rest of the does and fawns appear in the clover one by one, trickling from the timber to the tall grass and then into range. Natalie Krebs, Field & Stream, "What Happens When a Hit Deer Vanishes?," 29 May 2020 But then the water drops, and the streamside grass thickens calves and fattens fawns. Andrew Mckean, Outdoor Life, "Willow Creek: An Obscure Stream Shapes Life, Death, and Landscape," 16 Apr. 2020 Singh, dressed in a fawn kurta, bright blue turban, and a kirpan (a traditional sword) slung across his chest, said softly. Amanat Khullar, Quartz India, "Religious zeal shattered Delhi’s lives and dreams. Religious zeal is now picking up the pieces, too," 28 Feb. 2020 The go-to sound is that of a bawling fawn, but rabbit in distress and other predator sounds can lure in a hungry bruin too. Gerald Almy, Field & Stream, "Spring Bear Hunting Forecast for the U.S. and Canada," 2 Apr. 2020 With more than half of the collared fawns dead by spring 2017, The Idaho Department of Fish & Game responded. Popular Science, "GPS collars help wildlife researchers answer important questions," 23 Mar. 2020

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

24 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fawn.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fawn. Accessed 8 Jul. 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

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