unstressed done


: the verb form done used in African American English to indicate that something (such as a state or an event) has ended or been completed or that the speaker is feeling an intense emotion (such as shock, surprise, or disappointment) that counters the speaker's expectations : dən, perfective done sense a, preverbal done sense a
unstressed done continues to be used as a perfective marker (They done done it "They have finished doing it") …Stephan Gramley
The unstressed done is "distinguished from the main verb done by pronunciation" (Green, 2002a, p.686). The … speaker who states, for example, "He done done [sic] his assignments," means that he has already done his assignments. The verbal marker unstressed done indicates that the event took place in the past and is now over.Amanda J. Jones

Note: The feature of African American English called unstressed done is so called because it is unstressed in pronunciation. It usually precedes past tense verb forms (such as talked, lived, or went) that express events or actions and that have a definite end point; sometimes precedes present tense verbs; and sometimes follows the invariant be and stressed BIN features of African American English.

Word History

First Known Use

2004, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of unstressed done was in 2004

Dictionary Entries Near unstressed done

Cite this Entry

“Unstressed done.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unstressed%20done. Accessed 19 Jul. 2024.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!