\ ˈsən How to pronounce sun (audio) \

Definition of sun

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a often capitalized : the luminous celestial body around which the earth and other planets revolve, from which they receive heat and light, which is composed mainly of hydrogen and helium, and which has a mean distance from earth of about 93,000,000 miles (150,000,000 kilometers), a linear diameter of 864,000 miles (1,390,000 kilometers), and a mass 332,000 times greater than earth
b : a celestial body like the sun : star
2 : the heat or light radiated from the sun played in the sun all day
3 : one resembling the sun (as in warmth or brilliance)
4 : the rising or setting of the sun from sun to sun
in the sun
: in the public eye
under the sun
: in the world : on earth


sunned; sunning

Definition of sun (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

: to expose to or as if to the rays of the sun

intransitive verb

: to sun oneself

Definition of Sun (Entry 3 of 3)


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Synonyms for sun

Synonyms: Noun

sunlight, sunshine

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Examples of sun in a Sentence


The rain has stopped and the sun is shining. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. the warmth of the sun's rays They dream of traveling to distant suns. Try to keep out of the sun. The cat lay basking in the sun.


People sunned themselves on the hillside.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Ninety percent of fine lines are caused by sun exposure, which makes sunscreen the ultimate ingredient for younger-looking skin. Kat Suico, Allure, "The 21 Best Skin-Care Tips of All Time, According to Dermatologists," 23 Mar. 2019 The other thing to note is that this is a chemical sunscreen with avobenzone, homosalate, and octisalate as the active sun protection ingredients. Glamour, "This SPF Moisturizer Is Perfect If You Hate Wearing Sunscreen," 15 Mar. 2019 At the same time that Hari Nef was basking in the sun in a red checkered blazer, Kylie Jenner was rocking that same hue with a pair of hot pants. Alyssa Hardy, Teen Vogue, "Dua Lipa, Rihanna, and More Incredible Fashion Moments From this Weekend," 11 Mar. 2019 Basking in the sun shouldn't involve toiling over a few words that encapsulate your summer beach day. Blake Bakkila, Good Housekeeping, "30 Best Summer Instagram Captions for All of Your Sun-Kissed Photos," 4 Mar. 2019 Still, the three Seattle players — quarterback Russell Wilson, linebacker Bobby Wagner and punter Michael Dickson — each had a few moments in the sun through all the gloom. Bob Condotta, The Seattle Times, "Five things the Seahawks players did at the Pro Bowl," 27 Jan. 2019 But security is provided by the army of alligators, some of whom occasionally wander out of the lake to lounge in the sun. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "Lake X: Mercury Marine's Secret Boat Testing Site," 27 Dec. 2018 The day that Affleck headed to rehab, Sexton was snapped on the beaches of Malibu rocking an olive-green bikini and enjoying a relaxing a day in the sun. Fox News, "Ben Affleck's rumored gal pal Shauna Sexton reportedly visits star upon his return to rehab," 2 Oct. 2018 Freckle tattoos help achieve this without the negative consequences of actually spending time in the sun. Rose Minutaglio, Harper's BAZAAR, "I Loved Meghan Markle's Freckles So Much I Got Some Tattooed On My Face," 23 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

There is nothing like riding a bike in the desert, sun shining down on you, with open spaces as far as the eye can see. Samantha Leal, Marie Claire, "Riding a Motorcycle Through the Desert Was the Coolest Experience of My Life," 20 Apr. 2017 There was Lady Daphne Cameron splayed across a tiger skin rug in a trophy room and Dolores Guinness sunning herself, Babe Paley relaxing at her Jamaican retreat and CZ Guest at her famous Villa Artemis. Fiorella Valdesolo, Town & Country, "Slim Aarons and Napoleon Perdis Collection," 8 July 2014 An emu holds lemonade, a koala rides a bike, and a crocodile suns himself. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "The Most Unusual Baby Gifts Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Have Received So Far," 24 Oct. 2018 Alligators at The Shallotte River Swamp Park in Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina, had a chance to thaw out and sun themselves after temperatures rose above freezing on January 9. Mark Price, charlotteobserver, "This NC town hopes to attract more tourists - by letting them hunt alligators | Charlotte Observer," 25 Apr. 2018 Imagine robot planters the size of small bears, lumbering slowly around gardens and parks, looking for a place to sun themselves. James Vincent, The Verge, "This sun-chasing robot looks after the plant on its head," 12 July 2018 Sure enough, after swimming in calm waters, the reptile sauntered onto the shore and sunned itself a bit, before walking toward a lagoon on the other side of the island. Howard Cohen, miamiherald, "This alligator didn't mind saltwater as it swam and sunned itself on a Florida beach," 19 June 2018 Some played cards while others were sunning themselves on the hillside, inside the one-acre barbed-wire enclosure. Johnny Miller, San Francisco Chronicle, "Rockers rebuffed over RFK wake," 6 June 2018 On Saturday morning, people were already scarfing down gooey slices of Pantaleo’s cheese pizza off of flimsy paper plates and sunning on beach towels around the pool’s perimeter. Emily Williams,, "The city’s two public outdoor pools and South Boston ‘family-friendly’ beach open this weekend," 16 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sun.' 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 sun


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for sun


Middle English sunne, from Old English; akin to Old High German sunna sun, Latin sol — more at solar

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Learn More about sun

Dictionary Entries near sun



sum up



sun's mean longitude

sun's way

Statistics for sun

Last Updated

29 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sun

The first known use of sun was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for sun



English Language Learners Definition of sun

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the star that the Earth moves around and that gives the Earth heat and light
: any star that has planets which move around it
: the heat or light produced by the sun : sunshine or sunlight



English Language Learners Definition of sun (Entry 2 of 2)

: to sit or lie in the light of the sun especially in order to make your skin darker


\ ˈsən How to pronounce sun (audio) \

Kids Definition of sun

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : the heavenly body in our solar system whose light makes our day and around which the planets revolve
2 : sunshine sense 1 I'm going outside to get some sun.
3 : a heavenly body like our sun


sunned; sunning

Kids Definition of sun (Entry 2 of 3)

: to expose to or lie or sit in the rays of the sun

Kids Definition of Sun.


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More from Merriam-Webster on sun

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sun

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sun

Spanish Central: Translation of sun

Nglish: Translation of sun for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sun for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about sun

Comments on sun

What made you want to look up sun? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


likely to have or produce good results

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