\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

Clay is hopeful that subsequent, larger-scale research will help to determine whether the effectiveness of male mating calls is likely to drop off dramatically as populations wane. Ryan P. Smith, Smithsonian, "How Noisy Males Control the Gnu’s Cycle," 11 July 2018 Confidence: Medium Tomorrow night: A few showers and storms remain possible into the early to mid-evening, before rain chances wane mid- to late evening with the loss of daytime heating. Brian Jackson, Washington Post, "D.C.-area forecast: Cooler with shower threat early and late today; warmer with storm chances into midweek," 13 May 2018 The dollar’s strength this year, which took many investors by surprise, has begun to wane. Daniel Kruger, WSJ, "U.S. Dollar Declines Before Fed Meeting," 25 Sep. 2018 According to a video at www.almanac.com, there will be no rain and the weather should be nice during the first three days in the change of the moon (from wax to wane). Susan Selasky And Emma Tomsich, Detroit Free Press, "Strawberry moon, Saturn to light up sky tonight," 27 June 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Over time, however, that production wanes and lips get thinner and drier. Brennan Kilbane, Allure, "How Doctors Are Using Lip Filler to Mimic the Appearance of Makeup," 15 Aug. 2018 The Latest on the political situation in the Balkans (all times local): 4:10 p.m. The European Commission is recommending that the EU launch membership talks with Albania and Macedonia, even as enthusiasm for enlargement of the 28-nation bloc wanes. Fox News, "The Latest: EU backs membership talks for Albania, Macedonia," 17 Apr. 2018 And with the decline of unions, one of the last pillars of top-down authority in their coalition is on the wane. Jonathan Martin, New York Times, "As Trump Consolidates Power, Democrats Confront a Rebellion in Their Ranks," 30 June 2018 Stranger still, honeybees continue dying even though colony collapse disorder peaked quickly and has been on the wane. Thor Hanson, WSJ, "The Plight of the Humble Bee," 29 June 2018 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

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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Last Updated

10 Dec 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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More from Merriam-Webster on wane

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with wane

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wane

Spanish Central: Translation of wane

Nglish: Translation of wane for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wane for Arabic Speakers

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).


a nest or breeding place

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