\ˈwān \
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

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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

Did You Know?


"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


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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Some Cuban dissidents also don't think the influence of the Castro family will wane. Mimi Whitefield And Nora GÁmez Torres, miamiherald, "Cuba's new president is the first non-Castro in 42 years. How much power will he have? | Miami Herald," 19 Apr. 2018 Dalton's stature on the Horned Frogs' Mount Rushmore should never wane. Stefan Stevenson, star-telegram, "TCU Power Index: Frogs' most famous face (and hair) remains Andy Dalton," 20 June 2018 The average price consumers are paying per vehicle is starting to wane after years of steady increases, even for popular SUVs. Tribune Wire Reports, chicagotribune.com, "Auto sales fall again, signaling end to 7-year growth," 3 May 2017 Also, after a long and fruitful run in the late ‘80s through the 2000s, enthusiasm started to wane. Washington Post, "Once sidelined, romantic comedies rise again this summer," 14 June 2018 How long the risk will continue is unknown, but the number of cases is starting to wane. Robert Anglen, azcentral, "Is it safe to eat salad with all the news about E. coli?," 10 May 2018 Just as my own R.E.M. fandom began to wane, Murmurs.com became the central place for R.E.M. fans to congregate. Nancy Baym, WIRED, "Book Excerpt: How Music Fans Built the Internet," 10 July 2018 Addiction disorders are like most other chronic diseases — treatable, occasionally fatal, and with symptoms that wax and wane over a lifetime. Melissa Stein, STAT, "Privacy laws are hurting the care of patients with addiction," 13 July 2018 As the summer heat waxes and state legislative sessions wane, the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation has scored a few small but significant victories. Yonat Shimron, Houston Chronicle, "A campaign to blitz the country with ‘In God We Trust’ laws takes root," 7 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Once the fireworks emissions wane, regulators are warning that record high temperatures and strong inversion layers forecast for this weekend threaten to produce unusually poor air quality for several more days. Jon Schleuss, latimes.com, "The Fourth of July brings some of the year's worst air pollution. You can thank fireworks," 3 July 2018 Poliovirus is designed to infect cells and reproduce for a few weeks, and once the microbes have done their work in infecting cells, their anti-cancer effect wanes as well. Alice Park, Time, "Polio Virus Could Help Treat Brain Cancer. Here's How," 26 June 2018 While dual-class stock can benefit investors in the early stages of a company, insulating it from short-term market pressures, studies show the benefit wanes. Elizabeth Winkler, WSJ, "Can Super-Voting Stocks Survive the CBS Challenge?," 15 May 2018 But the new guidelines were developed after research showed that their pain relieving effect wanes as patients become accustomed to them, while the potential for abuse and overdose increases. Andrew Marso, kansascity, "Greitens announces opioid crackdown that could affect 8,000 Missouri doctors | The Kansas City Star," 5 Mar. 2018 With labor unions seeing their influence wane, more than 200 organizations have sprouted nationwide to help low-wage workers. Steven Greenhouse, New York Times, "Fast-Food Workers Claim Victory in a New York Labor Effort," 9 Jan. 2018 Public trust is essential for USP to succeed in these tasks, and Piervincenzi believes that even if faith in governments and institutions is on the wane, the breadth and diversity of his organization’s expert network sustains its credibility. Michael Eisenstein, Scientific American, "The Little-known History and Global Future of Quality Medicines," 31 May 2018 The Germans were always among the favourites, but this was a side on the wane, two years away from the Euro 2000 humiliation that instigated a radical overhaul of their entire footballing identity. SI.com, "World Cup Countdown: 5 Weeks to Go Croatia Win Bronze Thanks to Their Golden Boy Davor Šuker," 19 May 2018 The era of the party boss had long been on the wane across the nation. New York Times, "Crowley’s Loss Heralds an ‘End of an Era’: Last of the Party Bosses," 28 June 2018

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.

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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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Phrases Related to wane

on the wane

Statistics for wane

Last Updated

15 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for wane

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

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More Definitions for wane



English Language Learners Definition of wane

of the moon : to appear to become thinner or less full

: to become smaller or less : to decrease in size, amount, length, or quality


\ˈwān \
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.

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Comments on wane

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


evasion of direct action or statement

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