shunned; shunning

transitive verb

: to avoid deliberately and especially habitually
shuns publicity
shunner noun
Choose the Right Synonym for shun

escape, avoid, evade, elude, shun, eschew mean to get away or keep away from something.

escape stresses the fact of getting away or being passed by not necessarily through effort or by conscious intent.

nothing escapes her sharp eyes

avoid stresses forethought and caution in keeping clear of danger or difficulty.

try to avoid past errors

evade implies adroitness, ingenuity, or lack of scruple in escaping or avoiding.

evaded the question by changing the subject

elude implies a slippery or baffling quality in the person or thing that escapes.

what she sees in him eludes me

shun often implies an avoiding as a matter of habitual practice or policy and may imply repugnance or abhorrence.

you have shunned your responsibilities

eschew implies an avoiding or abstaining from as unwise or distasteful.

a playwright who eschews melodrama

Example Sentences

He shuns parties and social events. After his divorce he found himself being shunned by many of his former friends.
Recent Examples on the Web If people lose confidence the U.S. will pay its debts on time and shun U.S. government debt, Treasury yields will rise and raise financing costs for the government and consumers. Are there red flags for investors? Medora Lee, USA Today, 17 May 2023 Since Carlson’s stunning exit last month, a timeslot that has been shunned by many Madison Avenue stalwarts seems as if it is being embraced. Brian Steinberg, Variety, 8 May 2023 No, China’s leaders have a history of shunning U.S. hotline calls, and that’s a problem, the exercise leaders tell them. Ellen Knickmeyer, Chicago Tribune, 22 Apr. 2023 In her account, French museums shunned his works until astonishingly late, while French officials, French critics and French bureaucrats did their best to sideline him, denigrate his work or excise him from the national story altogether. Hugh Eakin, Washington Post, 22 Mar. 2023 Even some of the nation’s largest and best-protected banks were shunned. David J. Lynch And Tony Romm, Anchorage Daily News, 14 Mar. 2023 Throughout the 2023 awards season, Quan has been vocal about getting shunned by Hollywood after breaking into the entertainment industry as a child actor. Christi Carras, Los Angeles Times, 13 Mar. 2023 The two have continued to mirror each other since then; both shunned their successors’ inauguration ceremonies and fled to the embrace of conservative society circles in Florida, where Trump moved his residence and where Bolsonaro has been living for more than two months. Julia Jones, CNN, 4 Mar. 2023 As the West has shunned most Russian energy, unleashing a pressure campaign against the Kremlin’s petroleum revenues, record U.S. crude exports have helped fill the gap in Europe with the oil needed to produce gasoline, diesel and jet fuel. David Uberti, WSJ, 26 Feb. 2023 See More

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

Word History


Middle English shonen, shunnen, from Old English scunian

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of shun was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near shun

Cite this Entry

“Shun.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


shunned; shunning
: to avoid purposely or by habit
shunned her former friends
shunner noun

More from Merriam-Webster on shun

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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