\ ˈsən \

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

The Gear & Cost His kit consists of Bermuda shorts, a polo shirt, knee-high socks, a cap for sun protection and Adidas Nemeziz Messi Tango 17.3 turf shoes ($80). Jen Murphy, WSJ, "The Sport Where You Kick a Hole in One," 27 Oct. 2018 Custom roofs take into account the customer's future energy use, their roof's sun exposure, and the customer's overall budget. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "Five solar roof shingles that aren’t from Tesla," 24 Oct. 2018 Check out the intricate tilework at Plaza de España, squeeze in for tapas at the Bodega Santa Cruz, and when the sun sets, head to the Triana neighborhood for some flamenco, which originated in the city in the 18th century. Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Cities in the World: 2018 Readers' Choice Awards," 9 Oct. 2018 The story certainly plays up the distant, forbidding Alaskan setting, where the sun sets at 3:30PM, the temperatures are lethal, and Medora regards Russell’s ordinary outdoor survival gear with something between contempt and pity. Tasha Robinson, The Verge, "Netflix’s Hold the Dark throws Jeffrey Wright to the wolves," 28 Sep. 2018 According to Medical News Today, acral lentiginous melanoma doesn't appear to be caused by sun exposure. Gabrielle Sorto, Teen Vogue, "This Woman Had Her Thumb Amputated Because of Cancer Reportedly Caused By Biting Her Nails," 7 Sep. 2018 Come ready for 3 seasons: Clothing-wise, bring layers for sun protection all the way to light insulation. Peter Reese, Popular Mechanics, "The Best Way To Spend 72 Hours at Jackson Hole," 31 July 2018 Sun Care Protective Hair Veil Help keep hair refreshed with this citrus aroma spray, $28, that protects hair and scalp against sun exposure for up to 16 hours. Kirby Adams, The Courier-Journal, "How to look cool when it's hot: Your expert style guide for Forecastle," 5 July 2018 That’s another indicator that tomatoes do not need direct sun exposure for ripening. Margaret Lauterbach, idahostatesman, "Keeping our roses sweet requires a vigilant fight against bacterial cane blight," 29 June 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

18 Jan 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 \

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).


a complex dispute or argument

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