primarily a written form  ;
often read as
ˈpōn How to pronounce pwn (audio)
pwned; pwning; pwns

transitive verb

: to dominate and defeat (someone or something) : own sense 1b, rout entry 2 sense 1a
Online gamers use "pwn" to describe annihilating an opponent, or owning them. The word came from misspelling "own" by gamers typing quickly and striking the letter P instead of the neighboring letter O.Christopher Rhoads
No government, including Britain's, should have the power to pwn the Internet, and destroy it in the process.Amie Stepanovich
Why pwn the noobs from your couch when you could do it in front of an audience at New York's first-ever Fortnite In The Heights Tournament?Eva Kis
Then, a bunch of federal attorneys general got pwned in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals regarding their prosecution of medical marijuana businesses, which is a pretty big deal.Vince Silwoski

Examples of pwn in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web These elite bounty-hunting hackers and security researchers have a strict time limit in which to successfully 'pwn' the targets in question. Davey Winder, Forbes, 23 Mar. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'pwn.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


respelling of own entry 2, probably originally from a typing error, p and o being adjacent letters on the QWERTY keyboard

First Known Use

1999, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of pwn was in 1999

Dictionary Entries Near pwn

Cite this Entry

“Pwn.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Apr. 2024.

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