\ 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

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 Perhaps the biggest variable for districts is how much the demand for online education will wane along with the pandemic, and how much will remain constant. Erin Golden, Star Tribune, "Minnesota schools fast-track plans for permanent online learning options," 16 Feb. 2021 Over time, antibodies from the current round of shots may wane, likely at different rates in different groups of people, and depending on which of the vaccines people initially receive. Gregory Barber, Wired, "Why Kids Matter in the Quest to Stamp Out Covid-19," 29 Jan. 2021 And what limited evidence exists about the protection afforded by a single dose clashed with scientists’ fears that antibody responses would wane over time, potentially falling below a protective threshold. Benjamin Mueller, New York Times, "U.K. Approves Oxford-AstraZeneca Vaccine, and Tightens Lockdown," 30 Dec. 2020 There are also concerns that demand for food delivery, which is surging in the midst of the ongoing pandemic, could wane if vaccines are successful and consumers once again look to dine out more. Paul R. La Monica, CNN, "Analysis: No profits? No problem for red hot tech IPOs," 10 Dec. 2020 Many scientists think that recovered patients’ antibody levels could wane, generally after three months. Amy Dockser Marcus, WSJ, "Wanted in Covid-19 Fight: ‘Superdonors’ of Convalescent Plasma," 27 Sep. 2020 Sadly, his eyesight is starting to wane due to Macular Degeneration. Sam Blum, Dallas News, "MLB’s oldest living player is turning 100 years old. Ex-Rangers GM Eddie Robinson still has time to share his love of the game," 10 Dec. 2020 Recent studies have shown that the body’s immune response to the virus—measured in levels of antibodies and T-cells—tends to wane over time. Joshua Robinson, WSJ, "The Pro Cyclist Who Caught Covid Twice," 2 Dec. 2020 Our wet pattern should wane if not completely end by Monday and Tuesday as drier air slowly moves in. A. Camden Walker, Washington Post, "D.C.-area forecast: Downpour potential remains through Sunday, with some flooding possible," 14 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Now, negative bets are on the wane, according to this month’s Bank of America Corp. survey. Fortune, "Is there such a thing as a ‘COVID vaccine rally’? Look no further than the U.K.," 22 Feb. 2021 The state’s alarming second surge appears to be on the wane. Martin Finucane, BostonGlobe.com, "Mass. passes 15,000 coronavirus deaths, as state reports 46,244 new COVID-19 vaccinations," 12 Feb. 2021 Rock music may be on the wane commercially, but England continues to produce young and aggressive young bands who channel the sound and attitude from the glory days of post-punk. Mark Richardson, WSJ, "‘Drunk Tank Pink’ by Shame Review: Alienation With a South London Accent," 11 Jan. 2021 Even as Trump’s influence in Congress is on the wane, his administration appears to be recalcitrant in the presidential transition. Los Angeles Times, "Today’s Headlines: L.A. hospitals’ serious condition," 29 Dec. 2020 As with a cold, antibodies wane and people can get a cold more than once. Jen Christensen, CNN, "British study shows evidence of waning immunity to Covid-19," 26 Oct. 2020 For many publishers, the fair represented a scrappy, analog way of doing business that was on the wane even before COVID-19. Dorany Pineda, Los Angeles Times, "A landmark publishing fair is on ice. Booksellers are wistful but hardly surprised," 2 Dec. 2020 That could aid police departments at a time when the number of recruits is on the wane across the country and many voices are calling for funding cuts after months of protests against police violence. New York Times, "Police Drones Are Starting to Think for Themselves," 23 Nov. 2020 Suzie Pickles, a star on the wane, has her life upended when her phone is hacked and a compromising photo of her is released for the world to see. Washington Post, "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Reunion," 19 Nov. 2020

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

25 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Wane.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wane. Accessed 6 Mar. 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.

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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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