\ 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

After all, there were glistening balls of burrata with white peaches and mounds of freshly made cavatelli with fennel sausage to fawn over. Lale Arikoglu, Condé Nast Traveler, "Currently Obsessed With: The Spicy Fusilli at Jon & Vinny's in L.A.," 11 July 2019 People on social media are 'fawning' over an adorable Madeira Police Department Facebook post from June 27. Sheila Vilvens, Cincinnati.com, "See why social media is 'fawning' over this Ohio police rescue captured on bodycam," 28 June 2019 After the musical performance concluded and the dancers fawned over John Waters, the crowd broke into after-party disco debauchery. Vogue, "John Waters Was in His Campy Element at Ballroom Marfa's Spring Celebration," 21 May 2019 Image Over the last two months, Mr. Cuomo has watched as Ms. Nixon has garnered a swarm of media coverage — often intrigued, sometimes fawning — and has seen his once-yawning lead in the polls shrink to merely formidable. New York Times, "Cuomo Is Clear Choice of Convention Democrats and Hillary Clinton," 23 May 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Not understanding that the officer was there to protect and serve, the fawn became nervous and fell into the pool. Sheila Vilvens, Cincinnati.com, "See why social media is 'fawning' over this Ohio police rescue captured on bodycam," 28 June 2019 In June, wolves sniff out deer fawns in their grassy hideouts, seizing the newborns in powerful jaws. Ben Goldfarb, National Geographic, "The secret lives of fish-eating, beaver-ambushing wolves of Minnesota," 21 June 2019 The male fawn, named Little Bucky, was born on May 22 and weighed just under 2 pounds, the zoo said in a news release. Robin Goist, cleveland.com, "Musk deer fawn named Little Bucky born at Akron Zoo," 21 June 2019 The rare albino fawn was subsequently taken in by a local wildlife rescue group. Julia Wick, latimes.com, "Essential California: Who bought the Bakersfield Californian?," 4 June 2019 In some cases, other deer will adopt an orphaned fawn. USA TODAY, "Pride pickup, sphinx on move, Tony Stark’s cabin: News from around our 50 states," 13 June 2019 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

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

20 Jul 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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