\ ˈwān How to pronounce wane (audio) \
waned; waning

Definition of wane

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to decrease in size, extent, or degree : dwindle: such as
a : to diminish in phase or intensity used chiefly of the moon, other satellites, and inferior planets
b : to become less brilliant or powerful : dim
c : to flow out : ebb
2 : to fall gradually from power, prosperity, or influence



Definition of wane (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : the act or process of waning strength on the wane
b : a period or time of waning specifically : the period from the full moon to the new moon
2 [Middle English, defect, from Old English wana; akin to Old English wan deficient] : a defect in lumber characterized by bark or a lack of wood at a corner or edge

Choose the Right Synonym for wane


abate, subside, wane, ebb mean to die down in force or intensity. abate stresses the idea of progressive diminishing. the storm abated subside implies the ceasing of turbulence or agitation. the protests subsided after a few days wane suggests the fading or weakening of something good or impressive. waning enthusiasm ebb suggests the receding of something (such as the tide) that commonly comes and goes. the ebbing of daylight

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"Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour / Draws on apace four happy days bring in / Another moon: But oh, methinks how slow / This old moon wanes!" So Theseus describes his eagerness for his wedding night in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. As illustrated by Theseus' words, wane is a word often called upon to describe the seeming decrease in size of the moon in the later phases of the lunar cycle. The traditional opposite of wane is wax, a once common but now infrequently used synonym of grow. Wane and wax have been partnered in reference to the moon since the Middle Ages.

Examples of wane in a Sentence

Verb The moon waxes and then wanes. The scandal caused her popularity to wane. Interest in this issue has continued to wane. the waning days of summer
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Economists say, however, trade’s contribution to U.S. growth will likely wane as economic woes continue to deepen around the world, cooling demand. Yuka Hayashi, WSJ, 4 Aug. 2022 The leading indicators are all screaming Recession (e.g., Consumer Sentiment) and signs that inflation will soon wane on its own are evident in the commodity pits (e.g., the CRB Commodity Index). Robert Barone, Forbes, 10 July 2022 Former Syrian fighters warn of another parallel between their battle and Ukraine’s – the West’s unwillingness to become fully involved, and to support a resistance struggle that could wane. Taylor Luck, The Christian Science Monitor, 18 Mar. 2022 Precipitation is expected to wane this week as the atmospheric river of subtropical moisture, which brought nearly 2 inches of rain to some areas in the Portland area, finally drops off. oregonlive, 13 June 2022 Staffing shortage woes aren't likely to wane any time soon. Yec, Forbes, 2 May 2022 Immunity will wane and a more evasive variant could cut into people’s residual protection against severe disease. New York Times, 20 June 2022 Immunity will wane and a more evasive variant could cut into people’s residual protection against severe disease. Benjamin Mueller, BostonGlobe.com, 20 June 2022 Unlike antibody levels, which can wane following vaccinations or infections, T cells can recall a virus years, and sometimes decades, later. Denise Chow, NBC News, 14 June 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Sales in Europe are on the wane, but Americans are buying more plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVS), and their popularity so far hasn’t caught the attention of any grandstanding politicians. Neil Winton, Forbes, 10 Aug. 2022 The other indicator that pay increases are on the wane is that business surveys seem to indicate that corporate leaders and decision-makers are less enthusiastic about throwing money at the problem of lagging hires. Megan Leonhardt, Fortune, 28 July 2022 Studies indicate that the vaccines’ effectiveness wane over time, which leaves people particularly vulnerable amid this latest surge. Hannah Smothers, SELF, 13 July 2022 The question comes as evidence mounts that vaccine effectiveness does wane over time. Fortune, 9 Sep. 2021 The city imposed limited lockdowns, but nothing near a citywide level, in a much smaller outbreak that appears to be on the wane. Brenda Goh, The Christian Science Monitor, 1 June 2022 With mortgage rates rising, Yun forecasts existing-home sales to wane by 9% in 2022 and home price appreciation to moderate to 5% by year’s end. Brenda Richardson, Forbes, 26 May 2022 Indeed, the idea that a successful short film is merely an entry ticket to feature filmmaking opportunities appears to be on the wane. Andrew Barker, Variety, 22 June 2022 While the venerable oil fields are on the wane, industry executives say drilling in the Black Sea could produce enough natural gas to turn Romania, now a modest importer, into the largest producer in the European Union. New York Times, 15 June 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'wane.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of wane


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


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

History and Etymology for wane


Middle English wanien, wanen, going back to Old English wanian, going back to Germanic *wanōjan- (whence Old High German wanōn "to lessen," Old Norse vana), weak verb derivative from *wano- "deficient, absent," whence Old English & Old High German wan "lacking, deficient," Old Norse vanr, Gothic wans; akin to Latin vānus "empty, vain," Greek eûnis "bereft (of), without," Sanskrit ūna- "deficient, defective"

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

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Last Updated

12 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Wane.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wane. Accessed 17 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for wane


\ ˈwān How to pronounce wane (audio) \
waned; waning

Kids Definition of wane

1 : to grow smaller or less His interest in the game was waning. The moon wanes.
2 : to grow shorter The day is waning.

More from Merriam-Webster on wane

Nglish: Translation of wane for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wane for Arabic Speakers


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