Definition of wane
1 : to decrease in size, extent, or degree : dwindle: such asa : to diminish in phase or intensity —used chiefly of the moon, other satellites, and inferior planetsb : to become less brilliant or powerful : dimc : to flow out : ebb
2 : to fall gradually from power, prosperity, or influence
wane was our Word of the Day on 12/02/2016. Hear the podcast!
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
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.
Origin and Etymology of 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”
First Known Use: before 12th century
Synonym Discussion of wane
Definition of wane
1a : the act or process of waning strength on the waneb : 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
First Known Use of wane
WANE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of wane for English Language Learners
of the moon : to appear to become thinner or less full
: to become smaller or less : to decrease in size, amount, length, or quality
WANE Defined for Kids
Definition of wane for Students
1 : to grow smaller or less His interest in the game was waning. The moon wanes.
2 : to grow shorter The day is waning.
Seen and Heard
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