\ 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

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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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The rate of destruction began to wane only in recent decades. Author: Dino Grandoni, Anchorage Daily News, 9 June 2021 Their defense is error prone, and their focus can wane. Jeremy Cluff, The Arizona Republic, 21 May 2021 Once manufacturers restock supplies of new cars, demand for used cars should wane and prices should go down. Ana Campoy, Quartz, 12 May 2021 The medical community still needs data to determine to what degree immunity may wane over time, Dr. Amesh Adalja, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security who was not involved in the studies, told CNN in an email on Thursday. Jacqueline Howard And Virginia Langmaid, CNN, 28 May 2021 Silberberg and his wife would like to travel to Scotland in September for a family wedding but are nervous - both about the potential their immunity will wane and the confusing questions swirling around vaccine passports. Carolyn Y. Johnson, Anchorage Daily News, 27 May 2021 Top medical experts and pharmaceutical executives have voiced their expectation that immunity will wane over time, rendering necessary a booster shot for vaccinated individuals, perhaps as early as this fall. Arielle Mitropoulos, ABC News, 26 May 2021 Another concern was that strong demand from do-it-yourself consumers would wane quickly because much of it was driven by fleeting pandemic habits. Jinjoo Lee, WSJ, 19 May 2021 Harris worries the efforts will wane when economic hardships arise. Romaine Bostick, Fortune, 7 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But what about other ways to light up the yard when the moon is on the wane? Lis King, House Beautiful, 2 June 2021 In parts of the world, the Covid crisis appears to be on the wane, hopefully. Joe Mckendrick, Forbes, 27 May 2021 With the pandemic on the wane in the U.S., families are eager to send their children to in-person opportunities again — and many have the money to do it, after a year of saving on activities. Erin Richards, USA TODAY, 25 May 2021 The weather has been dry and warmer than normal in recent days, and the daylight is now stretching into the evening, offering a welcome taste of summer for residents already encouraged by news that the coronavirus pandemic appears to be on the wane. BostonGlobe.com, 19 May 2021 Explore the implications: Cash and checks were already on the wane as more customers bought online and used debit and credit cards in stores. Forbes, 12 May 2021 And any number of summertime troubles -- a continued surge of migrants, unrest around policing, high gas prices -- could see his popularity wane. Kevin Liptak, CNN, 28 Apr. 2021 That means that, in the 2024 election, the Midwest will see some more of its influence wane. Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press, 26 Apr. 2021 But the initial stay-at-home order marked just the beginning of an unprecedented health and political crisis that would see Newsom’s decisions increasingly questioned and his popularity wane. Taryn Luna, Los Angeles Times, 19 Mar. 2021

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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Time Traveler for wane

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

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Last Updated

13 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Wane.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wane. Accessed 18 Jun. 2021.

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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 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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wane

Nglish: Translation of wane for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wane for Arabic Speakers


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