wan

adjective
\ ˈwän \
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 \

Definition of WAN (Entry 3 of 3)

Keep scrolling for more

Other words from wan

Adjective

wanly adverb
wanness \ˈwän-nəs \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for wan

Synonyms: Adjective

ashen, ashy, blanched, cadaverous, doughy, livid, lurid, mealy, pale, paled, pallid, pasty, peaked

Antonyms: Adjective

blooming, florid, flush, full-blooded, glowing, red, rosy, rubicund, ruddy, sanguine

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

For decades bobal served primarily as the raw material for bulk wines produced by cooperatives, either for local consumption or export, where it was used to beef up wan reds. Eric Asimov, New York Times, "The Grape From Manchuela," 21 June 2018 Of course, censorship shapes crime writing here, which to some can make the genre seem relatively wan. New York Times, "How to Catch a Killer in China: Another Chinese Crime Novel Goes Global," 4 June 2018 Glenn, more slight, in the wan way of rock stars, slides in beside him. Sarah Scoles, Longreads, "Meet the New Mormons," 8 June 2018 Due in part to the lack of widespread public interest, the show got few reviews, with most offering wan praise at best. Emma Grey Ellis, WIRED, "What Brought Sense8 Back—and What Killed It in the First Place," 8 June 2018 Bare trees rise sculpturally toward a wan blue sky. Melissa Lyttle, Smithsonian, "The First Family of Rodeo," 13 Dec. 2017 MEN Travel can be tough on skin, leaving one wan and tired looking. Necee Regis, BostonGlobe.com, "Here, there, and everywhere," 1 May 2018 Even his wan but real identity as a black man and a hustler is robbed from him by the cops. San Francisco Chronicle, "‘Atlanta’ steals your brain in brilliant new season," 27 Feb. 2018 Her tone grew urgent or wan, depending on the mood. Peter Dobrin, Philly.com, "Defying gravity with pianist Mitsuko Uchida," 25 Feb. 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about wan

Dictionary Entries near wan

wampum snake

wampus

wamus

wan

WAN

Wanamaker

wanchancy

Statistics for wan

Last Updated

29 Jul 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for wan

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for wan

wan

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of wan

: looking sick or pale

: having a weak quality

wan

adjective
\ ˈwän \
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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on wan

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wan

Spanish Central: Translation of wan

Nglish: Translation of wan for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wan for Arabic Speakers

Comments on wan

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

WORD OF THE DAY

a magnificent or impressive array

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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