\ 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

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

As the team lowered Nadir, a bulbous three-seat submarine, into the waters off of the Bahamian island of Eleuthera on June 29th, the rain that had pummeled them that afternoon began to wane. National Geographic, "Scientists tag deep-sea shark hundreds of feet underwater—a first," 5 Sep. 2019 But as the heat begins to wane, women everywhere get the urge to let their natural hair breathe for a few months. Essence, "4 Steps To Restoring Your Hair After a Protective Style," 3 Sep. 2019 Although the iPhone remains Apple’s biggest source of revenue, its sales have begun to wane. Rex Crum, The Mercury News, "Apple looking to new iPhones to spur upcoming holiday sales: report," 22 Aug. 2019 As each summer began to wane, the family sought services like back-to-school drives that provided supplies such as backpacks and binders. oregonlive.com, "Back to school: For some Oregon families, free and reduced lunches are a lifeline," 24 Aug. 2019 After several moments the noise began to wane and the bird flew out and rejoined the others. Joan Morris, The Mercury News, "The quirky habits of El Cerrito hummingbirds," 14 Aug. 2019 The Owenite influence began to wane around the time of the Civil War, but people connected to the Owen family and New Harmony’s mission kept the town going. Diana Budds, Curbed, "This small Indiana town is a hotbed of utopianism," 5 Aug. 2019 Data released on Friday suggest that a nascent economic uptick is beginning to wane and that China could slip back into a slowdown. New York Times, "A Slower Economy. A Trade War. Now, China Faces Rising Food Prices.," 4 June 2019 Conspiracy theories, both anti-Semitic and otherwise, tend to wax and wane with periods of social upheaval. J.c. Pan, The New Republic, "Democratic Rot and the Origins of American Conspiracism," 3 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Their defense was aggressive, never slowing down or letting their effort wane. Kelli Stacy, courant.com, "Connecticut Sun beat LA Sparks 89-77 in Chiney Ogwumike’s return to Mohegan Sun," 7 June 2019 In an age when religion and philosophy are on the wane, social science has stepped in to fill a void; the Stanford Prison Experiment showed the way. Noam Cohen, WIRED, "Beware the Epiphany-Industrial Complex," 19 Aug. 2019 That’s because, after romping for a long time, earnings growth appears to be on the wane. Larry Light, Fortune, "More than Half of All Stock Buybacks are Now Financed by Debt. Here’s Why That’s a Problem," 20 Aug. 2019 His physicality in the mountains, so much a part of our lives, is on the wane. Steve Meyer, Anchorage Daily News, "Well-heeled Brits have the ‘Glorious Twelfth,’ but Alaska bird hunters have it better," 14 Aug. 2019 Kathleen Winter, a University of Kentucky epidemiologist, said more populous Ohio is on pace to surpass it as her state’s outbreak wanes. Laura Ungar, USA TODAY, "Hepatitis A is breaking out across the country in wake of opioid crisis," 10 Aug. 2019 Rose gold may be on the wane, but brass and gold accents are trending, as is matte black. Washington Post, "Fall décor’s style song: feel-good vibes and personality," 6 Aug. 2019 Apple manufacturer Foxconn is reportedly seeking a buyer for its $8.8 billion LCD screen factory in Guangzhou as demand for the product wanes. Fortune, "From “uncomfortable to scary”," 3 Aug. 2019 India’s biggest superstar at the time was fifty-seven and on the wane. Vanita Kohli-khandekar, Quartz India, "How Rupert Murdoch saved KBC from being merely Kaun Banega Lakhpati," 22 July 2019

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

17 Sep 2019

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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 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.

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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

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