\ ˈwän How to pronounce wan (audio) \
wanner; wannest

Definition of wan

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : suggestive of poor health : sickly, pallid
b : lacking vitality : feeble
2 : dim, faint
3 : languid a wan smile

wan

verb
wanned; wanning

Definition of wan (Entry 2 of 3)

intransitive verb

: to grow or become pale or sickly

WAN

noun
\ ˈwan How to pronounce WAN (audio) \

Definition of WAN (Entry 3 of 3)

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Other Words from wan

Adjective

wanly adverb
wanness \ ˈwän-​nəs How to pronounce WAN (audio) \ noun

Examples of wan in a Sentence

Adjective She gave a wan laugh. she looks a little wan after all that tiring work
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective And the sky went wan, and the wind came cold, And the sun rose dripping, a bucketful of gold. Elizabeth Lund, The Christian Science Monitor, "Poems to remind us of our strength during quarantine," 29 Apr. 2020 If the land in question has been converted from agricultural fields to golf-course acreage, the net impact of those other factors might actually be lessened, but that’s a wan exculpation. David Quammen, Outside Online, "And (this one highlighted by my hockey experience) there’s no checking.," 2 Mar. 2020 What seemed inventive and clever in the confines of a small off-Broadway theater feels utterly wan in its current incarnation. Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, "'The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical': Theater Review," 17 Oct. 2019 The industrial lagers were flavorless, wan and dilute; craft beer, by contrast, would be rich, complex and delicious. Esther Mobley, SFChronicle.com, "The hot new thing in craft beer? Good old-fashioned lager," 31 Jan. 2020 That was the epoch of Tide football spearheaded by the Mikes — DuBose, Price and Shula with a dash of Dennis Franchione added into a wan mix of uninspired, sometimes scandalous leadership at the dawn of this century. Rainer Sabin, Detroit Free Press, "That time Michigan's Jim Harbaugh nearly settled his feud with SEC apologist Paul Finebaum," 30 Dec. 2019 Evans managed both to placate the money men at Gulf & Western, who wanted to sell Paramount because of its wan revenue, and become a peer of Hollywood's rambunctious talent. cleveland, "Robert Evans, Hollywood mogul of legendary bravado, dies at 89," 28 Oct. 2019 Our family just discovered Gobi Manchurian, and for anyone who considers cauliflower a wan version of broccoli, try this and banish thoughts of soggy vegetables from your mind. BostonGlobe.com, "Where to eat in Greater Boston," 30 Mar. 2018 The beautiful young actress turns into a wan woman in a bandana and mismatched clothes. Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter, "'The Friend': Film Review | TIFF 2019," 7 Sep. 2019

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

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1578, in the meaning defined above

Noun

1983, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for wan

Adjective

Middle English, from Old English wann dark, livid

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Time Traveler for wan

Time Traveler

The first known use of wan was in the 14th century

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Statistics for wan

Cite this Entry

“Wan.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wan. Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for wan

How to pronounce WAN (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of wan

: looking sick or pale
: having a weak quality
\ ˈwän How to pronounce wan (audio) \
wanner; wannest

Kids Definition of wan

1 : having a pale or sickly color
2 : showing little effort or energy a wan smile

Other Words from wan

wanly adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on wan

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wan

Nglish: Translation of wan for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wan for Arabic Speakers

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